Home | Amazing | Today | Tags | Publishers | Years | Account | Search 
The Fifth Postulate: How Unraveling A Two Thousand Year Old Mystery Unraveled the Universe

Buy
What do Einstein's theory of relativity, string theory, and lots of other mind-bending—and space-bending—revelations of modern physics have in common? None of them could have been discovered until scientists and mathematicians recognized an uncomfortable truth—that there was a reason the world's greatest mathematical minds had failed to prove Euclid's fifth postulate after more than two thousand years of effort: the postulate, which defines the nature of parallel lines and space, was untrue.

In The Fifth Postulate, acclaimed science writer Jason Socrates Bardi tells the perplexing tale of what happened when, in the early 1800s, three great mathematicians, working independently, came to the same profound conclusion. Not only was the postulate unprovable, but discarding it opened an entire new universe of non-Euclidian geometry, in which the recognition that space is curved solved scores of previously insolvable problems and laid the groundwork for a host of new discoveries to come. Which of these brilliant thinkers would claim credit for this momentous discovery? None of them.

Why would the reigning genius of his day hide his manuscripts and barely mention their conclusions and back away in horror from what was arguably the greatest logical insight in the history of science? Why would the respected head of a European university face confusion and ridicule when trying to publish the same discovery? And why would a promising young army engineer find the secret and then retire, trying not to think about it anymore?

This bizarre true story of reluctant discovery recounts the little-known tale of the strangely parallel, triumphant, and tragic lives of János Bolyai, Carl Friedrich Gauss, and Nikolai Lobachevsky. It examines a world of science in which the objective quest for new truth is inhibited by blind adherence to an old, unproven postulate—mainly because of fear that, if it were untrue, everything that was known about geometry, nature, and the universe itself would have to change.

Even more surprising is the story of an eighteenth-century priest who, in an attempt to illustrate the absurdity of a world without the fifth postulate, stumbled upon and described non-Euclidian geometry without ever having understood the importance of what he had found. You'll also meet the mathematician who spent much of his life searching for a proof to the postulate, only to discover that his close friend Gauss had discarded it years before but had never told him.

Packed with fascinating anecdotes and insights, as well as crystal-clear explanations of complex mathematical concepts, The Fifth Postulate is compelling reading for anyone interested in the history of science and mathematics and the politics of discovery. It is also a chilling cautionary tale about the fragility of truth whose lessons are as pertinent today as they were two centuries ago.

About the Author

Jason Socrates Bardi, author of The Calculus Wars, holds master's degrees in both science writing and molecular biophysics from Johns Hopkins University.

(HTML tags aren't allowed.)

Web2py Enterprise Web Framework, 2nd Ed
Web2py Enterprise Web Framework, 2nd Ed

I am guilty! After publicly complaining about the existence of too many Python based web frameworks, after praising the merits of Django, Pylons, TurboGears, CherryPy, and web.py, after having used them professionally and taught them in University level courses, I could not resist and created one more: web2py.

Why did I...

Principles of Network and System Administration
Principles of Network and System Administration
Burgess fine book … is a well-articulated introduction to a corpus of guiding principles for systems administrators … I consider this an important book … I think that Burgess will become part of the required reading for future (and current) systems administrators. Peter Salus, Usenix Association Features
Microsoft OneNote Step by Step
Microsoft OneNote Step by Step

The quick way to learn Microsoft OneNote!

This is learning made easy. Get productive fast with OneNote and jump in wherever you need answers. Brisk lessons and colorful screenshots show you exactly what to do, step by step--and practice files help you build your skills.

  • Access local and online...

Hyperspectral Data Compression
Hyperspectral Data Compression
Hyperspectral Data Compression provides a survey of recent results in the field of compression of remote sensed 3D data, with a particular interest in hyperspectral imagery. Chapter 1 addresses compression architecture, and reviews and compares compression methods. Chapters 2 through 4 focus on lossless compression (where the decompressed image...
Lectures on Complex Integration (Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics)
Lectures on Complex Integration (Undergraduate Lecture Notes in Physics)

The theory of complex functions is a strikingly beautiful and powerful area of mathematics. Some particularly fascinating examples are seemingly complicated integrals which are effortlessly computed after reshaping them into integrals along contours, as well as apparently difficult differential and integral equations, which can be elegantly...

Financial Cryptography and Data Security: FC 2018 International Workshops, BITCOIN, VOTING, and WTSC, Nieuwpoort, Curaçao, March 2, 2018, Revised ... (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10958)
Financial Cryptography and Data Security: FC 2018 International Workshops, BITCOIN, VOTING, and WTSC, Nieuwpoort, Curaçao, March 2, 2018, Revised ... (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 10958)
This book constitutes the refereed proceedings of 3 workshops held at the 22nd International Conference on Financial Cryptography and Data Security, FC 2018, in Nieuwport, Curaçao, in March 2018.

The 23 full papers presented together with 2 short papers were carefully reviewed and selected
...
©2021 LearnIT (support@pdfchm.net) - Privacy Policy