Shows how the art of mathematical imagining is not as mysterious as it seems. This book reveals how anyone can begin to visualize the enigmatic 'imaginary numbers' that first baffled mathematicians in the 16th century....
Title  :  Imagining Numbers 
Author  :  
Rating  :  
ISBN  :  9780141008875 
Format Type  :  Paperback 
Number of Pages  :  288 Pages 
Status  :  Available For Download 
Last checked  :  21 Minutes ago! 
Imagining Numbers Reviews

I fail to read the book. You must not read it absolutely.

An irritating and badly rel]alised attempt to compare poetic and scientific imagination, with particular reference to conceptualising 'i' and its relatives. As is too often the case with this kind of book, the layout is confusing and the trickier mathematical concepts are hurried through.

It was an enjoyable review of complex numbers and a bit of trigonometry, along with some good history of mathematical thought. The analogies to poetry, however, struck me as just bloviating, and I started to skip those bits.

With many excursions into visualization in poetry, goes into the history of how imaginary numbers (square roots of negative numbers) were initially deemed "impossible", and slowly evolved into the "unnatural" or "uncomfortable" and finally into a perfectly respectable concept. In large part, this is tied into the geometric interpretation of numbers and algebra, and in particular the complex plane, where addition becomes a translation, and multiplication becomes a scaling and rotation.Reminds me of my own initial angst when I first heard that a straight line IS the shortest distance between two points (But how can that be? How can a distance BE a line?). And when I first heard that y=mx+c IS a straight line (but how can that be? how can an equation BE a line?). Over time, we see through the ambiguities, punning and loose analogies of natural language, and a precise, clear underlying concept comes into focus.

This is an interesting mix of poetry, history, algebra and geometry, leading the reader to appreciate the development of the understanding of i, the square root of minus one. I was particularly struck by the explanation of arithmetical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication) as manipulations of the real number line. Thus adding 5 to each number shifts the line 5 places to the right (or subtracting shifts it to the left), and multiplying by a positive number causes the number line to expand or contract uniformly, depending on whether the number is larger than one or smaller than one. Next, multiplying by 1 causes the line to flip around 180 degrees. And finally, multiplying by i rotates the line 90 degrees counterclockwise, giving you the complex plane. Once we have this plane, it's easy to visualize addition and multiplication of complex numbers. I've forgotten a lot since studying complex variables 50 years ago, but this book brought a lot of it back.

A little tome about the history and approachable explanation of imaginary numbers. A lot of the book's value was probably lost since I knew about most of the material. But it did refresh my memory on the topic, as well as give me some unexpected insight into the nature of imaginary numbers( thinking of number multiplication as rotation operations, why negative times negative is actually positive, looking at multiplication and exponents of imaginary numbers as rotation, etc.) The book has these meditations on imagination and poetry that are somewhat interesting, but come off as slightly pretentious, and a bit off topic from considerations of imaginary numbers. Nonetheless, an interesting stroll down the mathematical shops of memory lane, with a smidgen of poetry to boot.

Ok so the book was billed as an explanation of imagery numbers, which it was. A brief history of imaginary numbers from then they were first encountered through to the nineteenth century. The issue I had with the book was it was a rather slow progress through the history and the author tried to compare the mathematics with poetry. Now as all mathematicians know, mathematics is a form of poetry. It has a grace and form that are beautiful and astounding however Barry rather laboured this point. As such I rather switched off which is why this has taken so long to be completed.Just when I felt we were getting to a good bit, we'd step back and then look at something else. The peak of the moment was then lost and as a result when we finally made it to that point it was an anticlimax.

This book was introduced to me by Ms. Jaffe. We talked about it in class when starting our Imaginary Numbers unit. This book is half of the things i think about and everything i never thought to think about put into a book. It connects ideas of math to english but mostly the way things work. If listed the facts it tells, you would think it had the most random information, but it flows quite well. It often talks about the difference in certain things we think about and about imagination. What imagination means, its affect on a person, etc. Fascinating.

This was a surprising disappointment. The intersection between poetry and mathematics doesn't need to be nearly as tedious and dull as this  the author clearly enjoyed this transferring this incessantly rambling narrative out of his head and into book form. I got a distinct sense that it was edited and cleared for publication by literary folks who mistook its density for complexity. I finally gave myself permission to toss this across the room and move on, without guilt. :)

I have already learned that McGrawHill editors were encouraged not to use 'the word 'imagine' because people in Texas felt it was too close to the word 'magic' and therefore might be considered antiChristian.'Apart from that, which isn't really the point of the book, too much maths for someone as lazy as me, and not enough on trying to imagine things, which sort of was the point of the book.

I remember a conversation with a friend at university who told me about imaginary numbers. He didn't explain them very well but he caught my interest.This is the most entertaining book on mathematics you will ever read but a warning, if you're rusty on your sums like me, there is a lot of flicking backwards and forwards.

More poetry than mathematics, or illuminating the poetry in mathematics. The sort of crosspollination between disciplines that gets me so thrilled. Taught me the incomparable word "onomatoid". You have to see the window display that Barry's wife Gretchen designed to advertise the book. It involved a coat hanger, a bee and a tulip. The storeowners called to ask if she had made a mistake.

Somewhat tedious and boring. The main concept I took away from the book was the idea that numbers can be conceptualized in completely abstract forms, which can allow the thinker to evaluate information in new or unusual ways. I would have enjoyed the book more had it been a pamphlet.

I gave up. I wanted to like it, but there is just nothing there to like.

512 MAZ

Wonderful explanation of imaginary numbers  easily accessible and written with humor.

As seen inNature .

Never finished reading it  nothing of interest for me

3.5 stars.