Amir Alexander takes us from the bloody religious strife of the sixteenth century to the battlefields of the English civil war and the fierce confrontations between leading thinkers like Galileo and Hobbes. The legitimacy of popes and kings, as well as our modern beliefs in human liberty and progressive science, hung in the balance; the answer hinged on the infinitesimal.
Pulsing with drama and excitement, Infinitesimal will forever change the way you look at a simple line.
'fluent and richly informative'
‘A well-spun yarn, a cracking read… engaging…unique'
‘Amir Alexander's enthralling book presents a controversial mathematical breakthrough, vividly describing the players and showing exactly what was at stake.'
‘A complex story told with skill and verve… Alexander does an excellent job of presenting both sides of the debate.'
‘A gripping and thorough history of the ultimate triumph of the mathematical tool… Infinitesimal will inspire you to dig deeper into the implications of the philosophy of mathematics and knowledge'
"Bertrand Russell once wrote that mathematics had a ‘beauty cold and austere'… Amir Alexander shows that mathematics can also become entangled in ugliness hot and messy… [a] fascinating narrative.”
"[Told with] high drama and thrilling tension.”
‘A gripping tale of mathematical, philosophical, and theological controversies in the run-up to calculus.'
‘Clever and enthralling.'
‘A real-world Da Vinci Code'
‘Fascinating.. Amir Alexander vividly recreates a wonderfully strange chapter of scientific history... You will never look at calculus the same way again.'
‘Gripping… Amir Alexander writes with elegance and verve... A page-turner full of fascinating stories about the struggles of remarkable individuals and ideas, Infinitesimal will help you understand the world at a deeper level.'
‘We thought we knew the whole story: Copernicus, Galileo, the sun in the centre, the Church rushing to condemn. Now this remarkable book puts the deeply subversive doctrine of atomism and its accompanying mathematics at the heart of modern science.'
‘A seamless synthesis of cultural history and storytelling... The history of mathematics has rarely been so readable.'
‘You may find it hard to believe that illustrious mathematicians, philosophers, and religious thinkers would engage in a bitter dispute over infinitely small quantities. Yet this is precisely what happened in the seventeenth century. In Infinitesimal, Amir Alexander puts this fascinating battle in historical and intellectual context.'