the contextual life

thoughts without borders

books about math, science, and going crazy…

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i dont have much to write at the moment. im thinking a lot: consuming new information, reinforcing it, digesting it, applying it… but i havent been moved to put it on paper. there’s been nothing to say that hasnt already been said better by someone else.  but it’s starting to kick in: i’ve been improving my one-liners–because i feel more comfortable speaking in soundbites. but until i have anything original to say, here’s a book i read, a book i’m reading, and some others on my list…

Zero1. zero:the biography of a dangerous idea by charles seife. – this one was pretty cool. as the subtitle says, it’s a biography of zero. seife starts off before civilizations had zero–it just didnt exist in their minds–to quantum physics and blackholes, concepts we toy with today. the history of zero’s development is more interesting than you’d think. i was definitely determined to finish this one and lucky for me, it’s short:approximately 250pages.

The Infinite Book 

2. the infinite book:a short guide to the boundless, timeless, and endless by john d. barrow. – i’m reading this one now. after reading the biography of zero, i realize how perfect it is to read a book about infinity after learning about nothing. both are rebels{}both have flouted conventional wisdom{}and both have committed heresy. the infinite book is just as understandable–and entertaining–as zero. 


Memoirs of My Nervous Illness cover3. memoirs of my nervous illness by daniel paul schreber. – this is going to be my ‘fun’ book… i’m feeling the need to kick back and read something that that won’t require me to be well-rested. i was sold after reading the back of the book. it’s written by some german official–in1884–who was going crazy and decided to write a book while he was in an asylum. in the intro–written by the author–it says that his writings were intended for his wife, and friends, who he was going home to and who he thought should know what he had been through. only, he wasnt writing because he was cured from being crazy and merely reflecting. he was trying to explain his relationship to, and with, God. it’s completely serious and really well-written. freud, jung, and deleuze had each been obsessed with it.


4. number:the language of science by toby dantzig. – this is another biography of math. it sounds a bit broader than zero and infinity and i thought the cover was pretty cool.


5.  dialogue concerning the two chief world systems by galileo. – this is one of galileo’s major works–or so i’ve been told. in this one, he takes his theory for why the earth revolves around the sun and breaks it down into dialogue form with stories. it’s said to be more accessible for common readers–i can’t remember if that was intentional. i’m curious to see if he can explain the copernican and ptolemaic systems–two things i know absolutely nothing about but are the at the center of his proof–in a way that i would understand.Ideas And Opinions

  6. ideas and opinions by albert einstein. – since i’m not quite ready for einstein’s theory of relativity, i figured i’d start with some of his essays and letters. i’m a big fan of quotes so  i’m hoping to find some good ones.

Written by Gabrielle

May 15, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Posted in books

Tagged with ,

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