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Numbers are integral to our everyday lives and factor into almost everything we do. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter M. Higgins, a renowned popular-science writer, unravels the world of numbers, demonstrating its richness and providing an overview of all the number types that feature in modern science and mathematics. Indeed, Higgins paints a crystal-clear picture of the number world, showing how the modern number system matured over many centuries, and introducing key concepts such as integers, fractions, real and imaginary numbers, and complex numbers. Higgins sheds light on such fascinating topics as the series of primes, describing how primes are now used to encrypt confidential data on the internet. He also explores the infinite nature of number collections and explains how the so-called real numbers knit together to form the continuum of the number line.
Written in the fashion of Higgins' highly popular science paperbacks, Numbers accurately explains the nature of numbers and how so-called complex numbers and number systems are used in calculations that arise in real problems.