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Finding Fibonacci


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Table of Contents

Prelude Sputnik and Calculus 1 1 The Flood Plain 5 2 The Manuscript 18 3 First Steps 35 4 The Statue 42 5 A Walk along the Pisan Riverbank 56 6 A Very Boring Book? 64 7 Franci 72 8 Publishing Fibonacci: From the Cloister to Amazon.com 85 9 Translation 97 10 Reading Fibonacci 116 11 Manuscript Hunting, Part I (Failures) 138 12 Manuscript Hunting, Part II (Success at Last) 151 13 The Missing Link 167 14 This Will Change the World 181 15 Leonardo and the Birth of Modern Finance 192 16 Reflections in a Medieval Mirror 213 Appendix Guide to the Chapters of Liber abbaci 228 Bibliography 236 Index 239

About the Author

Keith Devlin is a mathematician at Stanford University and cofounder and president of BrainQuake, an educational technology company that creates mathematics learning video games. His many books include The Unfinished Game: Pascal, Fermat, and the Seventeenth-Century Letter That Made the World Modern. He is "the Math Guy" on National Public Radio. He lives in Palo Alto, California.


"In his jaunty book Finding Fibonacci, Keith Devlin sets out to tell the elusive story of the 13th-century mathematician Leonardo of Pisa."--James Ryerson, New York Times Book Review "Devlin leads a cheerful pursuit to rediscover the hero of 13th-century European mathematics, taking readers across centuries and through the back streets of medieval and modern Italy in this entertaining and surprising history... Devlin relates Leonardo's adventures with brio and charm. Readers will enjoy this deft and engaging mix of history, mathematics, and personal travelogue."--Publishers Weekly "Finding Fibonacci showcases Devlin's writerly flair. My favourite passages are the incredible story of how Liber Abaci (or at least, the edition he wrote in 1228, the sole surviving one) became available in English for the first time - to this day the only modern-language translation."--Davide Castelvecchi, Nature "[Devlin] talks his way into Italian research libraries in search of early manuscripts, photographs all 11 street signs on Via Leonardo Fibonacci in Florence and strives to cultivate a love for numbers in his readers."--Andrea Marks, Scientific American "Finding Fibonacci [does] much to restore Leonardo to his proper place in contemporary Western culture."--Dan Friedman, Los Angeles Review of Books "[E]ngaging and entertaining."--Library Journal "A charming new book."--Martijn van Calmthout, de Volkskrant "All in all a book to be recommended. If you already read The Man of Numbers it is most informative to read this 'behind the scenes' version and know how it came about (and what happened after its publication). If you didn't know The Man of Numbers, you at least get a summary of what is in there too. Only it is told in a much more personal and lively version."--Adhemar Bultheel, European Mathematical Society "[A] good beach read for the nerdier among us."--Math Frolic

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