Search Results for "nothing"

The Nothing that Is

The Nothing that Is

A Natural History of Zero

  • Author: Robert Kaplan
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • ISBN: 9780198029458
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 240
  • View: 8078
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A symbol for what is not there, an emptiness that increases any number it's added to, an inexhaustible and indispensable paradox. As we enter the year 2000, zero is once again making its presence felt. Nothing itself, it makes possible a myriad of calculations. Indeed, without zero mathematics as we know it would not exist. And without mathematics our understanding of the universe would be vastly impoverished. But where did this nothing, this hollow circle, come from? Who created it? And what, exactly, does it mean? Robert Kaplan's The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero begins as a mystery story, taking us back to Sumerian times, and then to Greece and India, piecing together the way the idea of a symbol for nothing evolved. Kaplan shows us just how handicapped our ancestors were in trying to figure large sums without the aid of the zero. (Try multiplying CLXIV by XXIV). Remarkably, even the Greeks, mathematically brilliant as they were, didn't have a zero--or did they? We follow the trail to the East where, a millennium or two ago, Indian mathematicians took another crucial step. By treating zero for the first time like any other number, instead of a unique symbol, they allowed huge new leaps forward in computation, and also in our understanding of how mathematics itself works. In the Middle Ages, this mathematical knowledge swept across western Europe via Arab traders. At first it was called "dangerous Saracen magic" and considered the Devil's work, but it wasn't long before merchants and bankers saw how handy this magic was, and used it to develop tools like double-entry bookkeeping. Zero quickly became an essential part of increasingly sophisticated equations, and with the invention of calculus, one could say it was a linchpin of the scientific revolution. And now even deeper layers of this thing that is nothing are coming to light: our computers speak only in zeros and ones, and modern mathematics shows that zero alone can be made to generate everything. Robert Kaplan serves up all this history with immense zest and humor; his writing is full of anecdotes and asides, and quotations from Shakespeare to Wallace Stevens extend the book's context far beyond the scope of scientific specialists. For Kaplan, the history of zero is a lens for looking not only into the evolution of mathematics but into very nature of human thought. He points out how the history of mathematics is a process of recursive abstraction: how once a symbol is created to represent an idea, that symbol itself gives rise to new operations that in turn lead to new ideas. The beauty of mathematics is that even though we invent it, we seem to be discovering something that already exists. The joy of that discovery shines from Kaplan's pages, as he ranges from Archimedes to Einstein, making fascinating connections between mathematical insights from every age and culture. A tour de force of science history, The Nothing That Is takes us through the hollow circle that leads to infinity.

Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

  • Author: Frank Close
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • ISBN: 0191574643
  • Category: Philosophy
  • Page: 176
  • View: 3150
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What is 'nothing'? What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space - a void - exist? This Very Short Introduction explores the science and the history of the elusive void: from Aristotle who insisted that the vacuum was impossible, via the theories of Newton and Einstein, to our very latest discoveries and why they can tell us extraordinary things about the cosmos. Frank Close tells the story of how scientists have explored the elusive void, and the rich discoveries that they have made there. He takes the reader on a lively and accessible history through ancient ideas and cultural superstitions to the frontiers of current research. He describes how scientists discovered that the vacuum is filled with fields; how Newton, Mach, and Einstein grappled with the nature of space and time; and how the mysterious 'aether' that was long ago supposed to permeate the void may now be making a comeback with the latest research into the 'Higgs field'. We now know that the vacuum is far from being empty - it seethes with virtual particles and antiparticles that erupt spontaneously into being, and it also may contain hidden dimensions that we were previously unaware of. These new discoveries may provide answers to some of cosmology's most fundamental questions: what lies outside the universe, and, if there was once nothing, then how did the universe begin? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Know-Nothing Party in Massachusetts

The Know-Nothing Party in Massachusetts

The Rise and Fall of a People's Movement

  • Author: John R. Mulkern
  • Publisher: UPNE
  • ISBN: 9781555530716
  • Category: Massachusetts
  • Page: 236
  • View: 9322
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Nothing About Us Without Us

Nothing About Us Without Us

Disability Oppression and Empowerment

  • Author: James I. Charlton
  • Publisher: Univ of California Press
  • ISBN: 9780520224810
  • Category: Medical
  • Page: 197
  • View: 6664
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"A study of the global oppression of people with disabilities and the international movement that has recently emerged to resist it ... A theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism."--Jacket.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing

  • Author: Harold Bloom,Michael G. Cornelius
  • Publisher: Infobase Publishing
  • ISBN: 1438132034
  • Category: English drama
  • Page: 331
  • View: 9198
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Equal parts tragedy and history play, Richard III chronicles the rise and short reign of its diabolical title character. Of this masterful creation, esteemed critic Harold Bloom has written, The manipulative, highly self-conscious, obsessed hero-villain moves himself from being the passive sufferer of his own moral and/or physical deformity to becoming a highly active melodramatist. Portrayed as England's curse and as his own worst enemy, the jealous and ambitious Richard would find little glory or peace awaiting him upon his ascension to England's throne. This collection of critical essays about the Bard's Richard III includes classic criticism from a number of notable critics throughout the centuries. Edited by Bloom, this title also features a handy index for quick reference.

Returning to Nothing

Returning to Nothing

The Meaning of Lost Places

  • Author: Peter Read
  • Publisher: CUP Archive
  • ISBN: 9780521571548
  • Category: Science
  • Page: 240
  • View: 2892
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Feelings about lost or destroyed places rouse our deepest emotions. Losing a home or a suburb or leaving a homeland can be like losing a loved one. This book examines what it means to lose a place forever and why we return, and keep on returning, to these places so large in our memories. It considers many lost towns, suburbs, and homes: Darwin after Cyclone Tracy, the flooding of the town of Adaminaby in New South Wales, the inundation of Lake Pedder in Tasmania, bushfire at Macedon in Victoria, migration from other countries, the clearing of neighbourhoods for freeways and the everyday circumstances which force people from their land. Peter Read establishes how important the places we live in are, and how much we grieve when we lose them. It tells a human story, which is disturbing, poetic, and often inspiring. Everyone who has lost a place of importance to them will find it unforgettable.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing

  • Author: William Shakespeare
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • ISBN: 9780435190125
  • Category: Conspiracies
  • Page: 224
  • View: 3642
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Presents the comedy of two couples who are happily united with the help of bumbling Constable Dogberry. Includes commentary on each page of the text.

Nothing But the Truth

Nothing But the Truth

A Documentary Novel

  • Author: Avi
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • ISBN: 0545174155
  • Category: Juvenile Fiction
  • Page: 177
  • View: 6800
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Ninth-grader Philip Malloy's suspension for humming "The Star-Spangled Banner" during homeroom becomes a national news story.

Much Ado about Nothing

Much Ado about Nothing

  • Author: Lawrence Green
  • Publisher: Nelson Thornes
  • ISBN: 9780748786039
  • Category: Drama
  • Page: 152
  • View: 7904
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This student book contains extensive notes and well-placed illustrations, providing clear explanations of words and phrases. It provides just the right balance for the study of language, imagery and theatricality, and of character and context, enabling students to gain a clear understanding of the text.

Stories and Texts for Nothing

Stories and Texts for Nothing

  • Author: Samuel Beckett
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • ISBN: 0802198317
  • Category: Fiction
  • Page: 160
  • View: 2365
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This volume brings together three of Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett’s major short stories and thirteen shorter pieces of fiction that he calls “texts for nothing.” Here, as in all his work, Beckett relentlessly strips away all but the essential to arrive at a core of truth. His prose reveals the same mastery that marks his work from Waiting for Godot and Endgame to Molloy and Malone Dies. In each of the three stories, old men displaced or expelled from the modest corners where they have been living bestir themselves in search of new corners. Told, “You can’t stay here,” they somehow, doggedly, inevitably, go on. Includes: “The Expelled” “The Calmative” “The End” Texts for Nothing (1-10)