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The Man of Numbers


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The story of the medieval genius whose 1202 book changed the course of mathematics in the West and helped bring on the modern era.

About the Author

Keith Devlin was born in Hull. He is a Senior Researcher and Executive Director at Stanford's H-STAR institute, which he co-founded. He is also a Consulting Professor in the Department of Mathematics, and a co-founder of the Stanford Media X research network. He is the author of more than twenty-eight books, including The Math Gene. He lives in Palo Alto, California.


'Not in many, many years have I seen a book nearly as instructive, enlightening, and sheer fun about the beauty of mathematics. Life by Numbers is truly superb' * Amir Aczel, author of Fermat's Last Theorem *
'A beautiful book ... The aim is not to teach but to entertain, and it succeeds. The view that mathematics is dull is replaced by an image of how math can be both interesting and useful' * New Scientist *

Devlin, noted mathematician (Stanford Univ.) and author of more than 30 books (The Language of Mathematics; The Math Gene), tells the fascinating story of Fibonacci's mathematical and cultural legacy. Leonardo of Pisa (1170-1240), called Fibonacci by a historian many centuries after his life, was inspired by the newly merging influences of Indian, Hindu-Arabic, and Western number systems. He not only introduced to the West the number sequence 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13., whereby each number is the sum of the two that precede it, but helped shape the development of modern mathematics and commerce. In an entertaining style, Devlin explains the influence of Liber Abbaci (Book of Calculation), Fibonacci's 600-page work published in manuscript form in 1202. This tome helped make mathematics accessible to 13th--century Italian businessmen and other ordinary people. Fibonacci's introduction to commerce of the digits 0 through 9 prepared the stage for the development of modern symbolic algebra and hence modern mathematics. Devlin writes for a general audience, effectively introducing and explaining basic mathematical concepts, and includes scholarly notes and references. VERDICT A must-read for anyone interested in the history of math, including undergraduates, mathematicians, and amateur historians.-Ian D. Gordon, Brock Univ. Lib., St. Catharines, Ont. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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