Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution

Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Keith J Devlin
Bloomsbury | 2011 | ISBN: 1408815761 | MOBI | 440.21KB

In 1202, a 32-year old Italian finished one of the most influential books of all time, which introduced modern arithmetic to Western Europe. Devised in India in the seventh and eighth centuries and brought to North Africa by Muslim traders, the Hindu-Arabic system helped transform the West into the dominant force in science, technology, and commerce, leaving behind Muslim cultures which had long known it but had failed to see its potential. The young Italian, Leonardo of Pisa (better known today as Fibonacci), had learned the Hindu number system when he traveled to North Africa with his father, a customs agent.

The book he created was Liber abbaci, the 'Book of Calculation', and the revolution that followed its publication was enormous. Arithmetic made it possible for ordinary people to buy and sell goods, convert currencies, and keep accurate records of possessions more readily than ever before. Liber abbaci's publication led directly to large-scale international commerce and the scientific revolution of the Renaissance.

Yet despite the ubiquity of his discoveries, Leonardo of Pisa remains an enigma. His name is best known today in association with an exercise in Liber abbaci whose solution gives rise to a sequence of numbers - the Fibonacci sequence - used by some to predict the rise and fall of financial markets, and evident in myriad biological structures. In The Man of Numbers, Keith Devlin recreates the life and enduring legacy of an overlooked genius, and in the process makes clear how central numbers and mathematics are to our daily lives.

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into History of the Human Body

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into History of the Human Body

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin
Pantheon | 2008 | ISBN: 0307377164 | EPUB | 2.66MB

Details on a Major New Discovery included in a New Afterword.

Why do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the "fish with hands," tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest--enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.


Brains: How They Seem to Work

Brains: How They Seem to Work

Brains: How They Seem to Work by Dale Purves
FT Press | 2010 | ISBN: 0137055099 | EPUB | 2.31MB

For 50 years, the world’s most brilliant neuroscientists have struggled to understand how human brains really work. Today, says Dale Purves, the dominant research agenda may have taken us as far as it can--and neuroscientists may be approaching a paradigm shift.

In this highly personal book, Purves reveals how we got to this point and offers his notion of where neuroscience may be headed next. Purves guides you through a half-century of the most influential ideas in neuroscience and introduces the extraordinary scientists and physicians who created and tested them.

Purves offers a critical assessment of the paths that neuroscience research has taken, their successes and their limitations, and then introduces an alternative approach for thinking about brains. Building on new research on visual perception, he shows why common ideas about brain networks can’t be right and uncovers the factors that determine our subjective experience. The resulting insights offer a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

  • Why we need a better conception of what brains are trying to do and how they do it
  • Approaches to understanding the brain over the past several decades may be at an impasse
  • The surprising lessons that can be learned from what we see
  • How complex neural processes owe more to trial-and-error experience than to logical principles
  • Brains--and the people who think about them
  • Meet some of the extraordinary individuals who’ve shaped neuroscience
  • The “ghost in the machine” problem
  • The ideas presented further undermine the concept of free will

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