Mathematician Amir D. Aczel visited Google’s Cambridge, MA office to discuss his book, “Finding Zero: A Mathematician’s Odyssey to Uncover the Origins of Numbers”.
The invention of numerals is perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created. The story of how and where we got these numerals has for thousands of years been shrouded in mystery. “Finding Zero” is the saga of Dr. Aczel’s lifelong obsession: to find the original sources of our numerals. His journey takes him to India, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and ultimately into the wilds of Cambodia.
Amir. Aczel has degrees from Berkeley and the University of Oregon. He’s the author of over twenty general and textbooks, including “Fermat’s Last Theorem”. He’s been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Visiting Scholar in the History of Science at Harvard. Since 2003, he has been a research fellow at the Boston University Center for Philosophy and History of Science, and as of 2011 has been teaching mathematics courses at UMass Boston.