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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Themes

Charles Seife
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Zero.
This section contains 743 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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Themes

Scientific Progress and Zero

Charles Seife tells the story of scientific progress through the lens of the number zero. Zero has prompted most of the major advances in mathematics and physics. At the very least, dealing with zero was required in order to make progress. Seife makes a number of extravagant claims about scientific progress and its relation to zero. For instance, he attributes to Aristotelian metaphysics an inability to recognize the number zero and then blames that inability not only for the Roman civilization's failure to advance mathematics but for the failure of scientific progress during the entire medieval period.

Seife claims that each major advance in physics and mathematics all involved facing some challenge presented by zero. For instance, without zero, algebra could not be created and algebra was needed for any number of important advances. It was an inability to deal with the implications of zero...

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This section contains 743 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea Study Guide
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Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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