The Kingdom of Infinite Number

A Field Guide

Bryan Bunch

Henry Holt and Co.

Just as bird guides help watchers tell birds apart by their color, songs, and behavior, The Kingdom of Infinite Number is the perfect handbook for identifying numbers in their native habitat. Taking a field guide-like approach, it offers a fresh way of looking at individual numbers and the properties that make them unique, which are also the properties essential for mental computation. The result provides new insights into mathematical patterns and relationships and an increased appreciation for the sheer wonder of numbers.

Every number in this book is identified by its "field marks," "similar species," "personality," and "associations." For example, one field mark of the number 6 is that it is the first perfect number-- the sum of its divisors (1, 2, and 3) is equal to the number itself. Thus 28, the next perfect number, is a similar species. And the fact that 6 can easily be broken into 2 and 3 is part of its personality, a trait that is helpful when large numbers are being either multiplied or divided by 6. Associations with 6 include its relationship to the radius of a circle. In addition to such classifications, special attention is paid to dozens of other fascinating numbers, including zero, pi, 10 to the 76th power (the number of particles in the universe), transfinite and other exceptionally larger numbers, and the concept of infinity.

Ideal for beginners but organized to appeal to the mathematically literate, The Kingdom of Infinite Number will not only add to readers' enjoyment of mathematics, but to their problem-solving abilities as well.

BOOK EXCERPTS

The Kingdom of Infinite Numbers
Kingdom NumberGenus Natural (Counting Numbers)In some societies, counting language has not evolved beyond 2 or 3 and a word that means "many" for higher numbers. From a linguistic point of view the counting numbers, at least those greater than 2 or 3, may be considered a human invention.Yet there is something natural about the genus Natural. If the concept of matching, or one-to-one correspondence, is taken as a fundamental idea, the natural numbers--1, 2, 3, ...--would appear to be its logical outgrowth; a natural number describes the set of all sets that can
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Praise for The Kingdom of Infinite Number

"Here is the guide to numbers that we have all been waiting for. It's the perfect bedside reader, chock full of lots of interesting math you can absorb one number at a time."--Colin C. Adams, Mark Hopkins Professor of Mathematics, Williams College

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• Bryan Bunch

• Bryan Bunch has extensive experience as a writer and editor in the math and science fields. The editor of The Family Encyclopedia of Diseases, he is also the co-author, with Alexander Hellemans, of The Timetables of Science, and the author of Mathematical Fallacies and Paradoxes and Reality's Mirror: Exploring the Mathematics of Symmetry, which was named one of the year's best science books by Library Journal.
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A Field Guide

Bryan Bunch

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