Paolo Zellini

The Mathematics of the Gods and the Algorithms of Men
  • The Mathematics of the Gods and the Algorithms of Men

  • Is mathematics a discovery or an invention? Do numbers truly exist? What sort of reality do formulas describe?

    The complexity of mathematics - its abstract rules and obscure symbols - can seem very distant from the everyday. There are those things that are real and present, it is supposed, and then there are mathematical concepts: creations of our mind, mysterious tools for those unengaged with the world. Yet, from its most remote history and deepest purpose, mathematics has served not just as a way to understand and order, but also as a foundation for the reality it describes.

    In this elegant book, mathematician and philosopher Paolo Zellini offers a brief cultural and intellectual history of mathematics, ranging widely from the paradoxes of ancient Greece to the sacred altars of India, from Mesopotamian calculus to our own contemporary obsession with algorithms.

    Masterful and illuminating, The Mathematics of the Gods and the Algorithms of Men transforms our understanding of mathematical thinking, showing that it is inextricably linked with the philosophical and the religious as well as the mundane - and, indeed, with our own very human experience of the universe.

Paolo Zellini is a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Rome where his research focuses on numerical analysis and the evolution of mathematical thought. He is the author of the international bestseller A Brief History of Infinity which Italo Calvino described as 'one of the most important books of the twentieth or twenty-first centuries'.

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