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By C. Pickover

ISBN-10: 0471690988

ISBN-13: 9780471690986

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He drew a pentagram on the ground, but the exercise scared him, and he ran away. Pascal said that this experience made him certain of God’s existence. One evening in 1654, he had a two-hour mystical vision that he called a “night of fire,” in which he experienced fire and “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . ” A scrap of paper containing the “Memorial” was found in the lining of his coat after his death, for he carried this reminder about with him always. The three lines of “Memorial” are Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.

The Matrix. What number is on Agent Smith’s license plate in the movie The Matrix Reloaded? Why? ) At the movies. What famous book and movie title contains a number that is greater than 18,000 and less then 38,000? ) The mathematical life. “The mathematician lives long and lives young; the wings of the soul do not early drop off, nor do its 36 A Passion for Mathematics pores become clogged with the earthly particles blown from the dusty highways of vulgar life” (James Joseph Sylvester, 1814–1897, a professor of mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, 1869 address to the British Mathematical Association).

Omists and psychologists very seldom indeed. It is as their subject matter comes nearer to man himself that their antireligious bias hardens” (C. S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle: And Other Selected Essays on Theology and Ethics from God in the Dock, 1983). The Number Pope. As I write this book, I realize that a thousand years ago, the last Pope-mathematician died. Gerbert of Aurillac (c. 946– 1003) was fascinated by mathematics and was elected to be Pope Sylvester II in 999. His advanced knowledge of mathematics convinced some of his enemies that he was an evil magician.

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A Passion for Mathematics by C. Pickover


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