Show Summary Details

p. 172. Numbers and abstractionlocked

  • Timothy Gowers


‘Numbers and abstraction’ explains the abstract method of mathematics, which can be encapsulated in the slogan: a mathematical object is what it does, using a graph model of chess. It then goes on to describes the natural numbers; the concept of a number, which is intimately connected with the arithmetical operations of addition and multiplication; and the commutative, associative, and distributive laws for addition and multiplication. The properties of the number zero, negative numbers and fractions, real and complex numbers, infinity, and raising numbers to negative and fractional powers are also described.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.