This review is part my series on Progress in Mathematics. The posts aren’t linearly connected but if you’re interested you can read the first two here and here Number is a book about the history of mathematics. It was written in the 1930s by mathematician and part time lumberjack: Tobias Dantzig. It is a birds-eye view of the most important developments in the field from humanity’s first insights to what Dantzig knew as modern mathematics in the early 20th century. Dantzig spiritedly carries the reader along continuous threads of mathematical thought which stretch from the ancient Greeks, through the Renaissance, and into his modern day.

> Lamenting the past won’t help anyone though, and the forward-looking lessons from these observations are inspiring...it is impossible to know what we might be missing right under our noses.

Agree completely! The tension between tradition and novelty - one of the classic conundrums in civilization - develops in a fractal form. Back then, the Greeks resented the infinite, while now we embrace it - but just a priori we should assume that there's some "crazy" proposed ideas right now that we're ignoring, and in the future people will write blog posts about how we missed it. And so on.

Apr 29, 2022·edited Apr 29, 2022Liked by Maxwell Tabarrok

> And, as usual, prohibition did not succeed in abolishing but mainly served to spread bootlegging, ample evidence of which is found in the thirteenth century archives of Italy, where, it appears, merchants were using the Arabic numerals as a sort of secret code.

13th century Italians be like...Yo dawg...I heard you can slide me some of the Arabic numerals. You got any spicy ones? 😏

## Number: The Language Of Science

> Lamenting the past won’t help anyone though, and the forward-looking lessons from these observations are inspiring...it is impossible to know what we might be missing right under our noses.

Agree completely! The tension between tradition and novelty - one of the classic conundrums in civilization - develops in a fractal form. Back then, the Greeks resented the infinite, while now we embrace it - but just a priori we should assume that there's some "crazy" proposed ideas right now that we're ignoring, and in the future people will write blog posts about how we missed it. And so on.

edited Apr 29, 2022> And, as usual, prohibition did not succeed in abolishing but mainly served to spread bootlegging, ample evidence of which is found in the thirteenth century archives of Italy, where, it appears, merchants were using the Arabic numerals as a sort of secret code.

13th century Italians be like...Yo dawg...I heard you can slide me some of the Arabic numerals. You got any spicy ones? 😏