A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshipped it, and the Christian Church used it to fend off heretics. Today it's a timebomb ticking in the heart of astrophysics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything.
Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything. Within the concept of zero lies a philosophical and scientific history of humanity.
Charles Seife's elegant and witty account takes us from Aristotle to superstring theory by way of Egyptian geometry, Kabbalism, Einstein, the Chandrasekhar limit and Stephen Hawking. Covering centuries of thought, it is a concise tour of a world of ideas, bound up in the simple notion of nothing.