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Gilles Godefroy

The Adventure of Numbers

Numbers never cease to fascinate. Even before the civilisations of Antiquity had found out how to use numbers to measure and master natural phenomena, they were already trying to discover in numerical characteristics the solution to the great mysteries of the universe and the secrets of human destiny. The Adventure of Numbers recounts the history of the gradual discovery of numerical characteristics, from the early days of arithmetic to the most sophisticated recent issues: Could a robot be created that would reduce all mathematics to simple sums? Are we sure that arithmetic does not conceal contradictions? Can all mathematical truths be demonstrated? The surprising answers given by Gilles Godefroy are the latest in an on-going saga that will doubtless continue to astound us.

Mathematician Gilles Godefroy is a research director at the French Centre National de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).