A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
"Wilkinson has accomplished something more moving and original, braiding his stumbling attempts to get better at math with his deepening awareness that there’s an entire universe of understanding that will, in some fundamental sense, forever lie outside his reach." —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
"There is almost no writer I admire as much as I do Alec Wilkinson. His work has enduring brilliance and humanity.” —Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book
A spirited, metaphysical exploration into math's deepest mysteries and conundrums at the crux of middle age.
Decades after struggling to understand math as a boy, Alec Wilkinson decides to embark on a journey to learn it as a middle-aged man. What begins as a personal challenge—and it's challenging—soon transforms into something greater than a belabored effort to learn math. Despite his incompetence, Wilkinson encounters a universe of unexpected mysteries in his pursuit of mathematical knowledge and quickly becomes fascinated; soon, his exercise in personal growth (and torture) morphs into an intellectually expansive exploration.
In A Divine Language, Wilkinson, a contributor to The New Yorker for over forty years, journeys into the heart of the divine aspect of mathematics—its mysteries, challenges, and revelations—since antiquity. As he submits himself to the lure of deep mathematics, he takes the reader through his investigations into the subject’s big questions—number theory and the creation of numbers, the debate over math’s human or otherworldly origins, problems and equations that remain unsolved after centuries, the conundrum of prime numbers. Writing with warm humor and sharp observation as he traverses practical math’s endless frustrations and rewards, Wilkinson provides an awe-inspiring account of an adventure from a land of strange sights. Part memoir, part metaphysical travel book, and part journey in self-improvement, A Divine Language is one man’s second attempt at understanding the numbers in front of him, and the world beyond.
You can read this ebook online in a web browser, without downloading anything or installing software.
This ebook is available in file types:
This ebook is available in:
After you've bought this ebook, you can choose to download either the PDF version or the ePub, or both.
The publisher has supplied this book in DRM Free form with digital watermarking.
You can read this eBook on any device that supports DRM-free EPUB or DRM-free PDF format.
The publisher has supplied this book in encrypted form, which means that you need to install free software in order to unlock and read it.
To read this ebook on a mobile device (phone or tablet) you'll need to install one of these free apps:
To download and read this eBook on a PC or Mac:
The publisher has set limits on how much of this ebook you may print or copy.