Pi in the Sky: Counting, Thinking, and Being

John D. Barrow, Author Oxford University Press, USA $35 (336p) ISBN 978-0-19-853956-8
British mathematician Barrow ( Theories of Everything ) here commands an elegant modern style in describing a more classical, structured grammar: that of numbers. This broad history of--and reflection upon--the role of mathematics in the human enterprise of figuring reality spans recorded civilization. Barrow examines hash marks made on bones that date from 9000 B.C., delves into numerology, observes mathematics in the depths of philosophy and the far reaches of cosmology, often utilizing playful headings to introduce substantive material (the section on early mathematics in the Near East is titled ``The Counter Culture''). General readers who doubt that ``numeracy'' is as civilizing a pursuit as literacy will note how utterly human are some of the early-20th-century intuitionists' debates Barrow recounts in ``Intuitionism: The Immaculate Construction.'' He does not justify the culture of mathematics as ``fun'' or as a separate, mystical realm but characterizes it as the modern manifestation of the oldest and most compelling human instinct. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.