HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT NUMBERS? by Isaac Asimov

HOW DID WE FIND OUT ABOUT NUMBERS?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Numerals, not numbers, are the subject of this survey of how man gradually developed handier words and symbols to express "how many." The first two chapters, on the need to improve upon the awkward "a day and another day and another day and another day and another day," the discovery of counting on fingers, and the cumbersome length of early Egyptian notations for large numbers, belabor the very elementary points, whereas a chapter on numbers and alphabets seems entirely beside the point; other sections on the development of Egyptian and Roman systems and the adaptation of the superior Hindu system with its symbol for "nothing" are set forth in an easy conversational style and clarifying as far as they go, but they don't go as far as other introductory surveys which include material on binary and other possibly number systems. Asimov doesn't even attempt to get readers thinking mathematically or to stimulate them, as he did in How Did We Find Out' the Earth is Round? (KR, p. 118), to rediscover with the ancients.
Pub Date: June 7th, 1973
ISBN: 0802761356
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1973




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