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The Secret Lives of Numbers by Kate Kitagawa & Timothy Revell
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The Secret Lives of Numbers

A Global History of Mathematics & its Unsung Trailblazers
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Narrator Daphne Kouma

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Length 8 hours 11 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

Mathematics shapes almost everything we do. But despite its reputation as the study of fundamental truths, the stories we have been told about it are wrong. In The Secret Lives of Numbers, historian Kate Kitagawa and journalist Timothy Revell introduce readers to the mathematical boundary-smashers who have been erased by history because of their race, gender or nationality.

From the brilliant Arabic scholars of the ninth-century House of Wisdom, and the pioneering African American mathematicians of the twentieth century, to the 'lady computers' around the world who revolutionised our knowledge of the night sky, we meet these fascinating trailblazers and see how they contributed to our global knowledge today.

Along the way, the mathematics itself is explained extremely clearly, for example, calculus is described using the authors' home baking, as they pose the question: how much cake is in our cake? This revisionist, completely accessible and radically inclusive history of mathematics is as entertaining as it is important.

ยฉ2023 Tomoko L. Kitagawa & Timothy Revell (P)2023 Penguin Audio

Kate Kitagawa (Author)
Dr Kate Kitagawa is one of the world's leading experts on the history of mathematics. She earned a PhD from Princeton University, taught history at Harvard University and conducted research in the UK, Germany and South Africa. Her first book was a national bestseller in Japan, and she has been named one of the 100 most influential people in Japan by Nikkei Business.

Timothy Revell (Author)
Dr Timothy Revell is a journalist and lapsed mathematician. He is currently the Executive Editor for New Scientist and is based in London. As a reporter and editor, he specialises in technology and mathematics, covering everything from artificial intelligence to the Abel prize. He appears regularly on WNYC's Science Friday, as well as on other podcasts and radio to talk about the latest developments in science. He has a master's degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science. His first book was Man vs. Maths.

Kate Kitagawa (Author)
Dr Kate Kitagawa is one of the world's leading experts on the history of mathematics. She earned a PhD from Princeton University, taught history at Harvard University and conducted research in the UK, Germany and South Africa. Her first book was a national bestseller in Japan, and she has been named one of the 100 most influential people in Japan by Nikkei Business.

Timothy Revell (Author)
Dr Timothy Revell is a journalist and lapsed mathematician. He is currently the Executive Editor for New Scientist and is based in London. As a reporter and editor, he specialises in technology and mathematics, covering everything from artificial intelligence to the Abel prize. He appears regularly on WNYC's Science Friday, as well as on other podcasts and radio to talk about the latest developments in science. He has a master's degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science. His first book was Man vs. Maths.

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Reviews

The history of math is typically taught from an exclusively Greco-Eurocentric perspective as a parade of great men. This significantly distorts reality. Mathematics has been invented in one form or another by every culture on Earth, and the exclusion of women and people of color from traditional narratives is particularly glaring. Kitagawa and Revell do an excellent job of broadening our view to the far more vibrant, collaborative, diverse, and interesting history . . . Mathematics is the most powerful tool humans ever invented, and this book is a welcome corrective to our understanding of how it came to be Lively, satisfying, good at explaining difficult concepts Great and highly accessible read โ€“ even for the less numerically gifted A delightful journey through some of the lesser known highways and byways of mathematics Modern technology is built on the work of those who pursued maths for maths' sake. This book is a clever tribute to those brilliant, if sometimes erratic, lives A delightful journey through some of the lesser known highways and byways of mathematics that brings to the fore many fascinating figures who have been unjustly forgotten. A treasury of lost historical tales where you can find the story of a Keralan mathematician who might have discovered calculus centuries before Newton and Leibniz or the eleventh-century Chinese origins of binary in the I Ching Expand reviews
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