Cover image for It all adds up : the story of people and mathematics
It all adds up : the story of people and mathematics
Uniform Title:
Grand roman des maths. English


Physical Description:
ix, 260 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
General Note:
"First published in France by Flammarion as Le grand romans des maths in 2016"--Title page verso.
Mathematicians without knowing it -- And then there were numbers -- Let no one ignorant of geometry enter -- The age of theorems -- A little method -- [pi] in the sky -- Nothing and less than nothing -- The power of triangles -- Into the unknown -- In sequence -- Imaginary worlds -- A language for mathematics -- The world's alphabet -- The infinity small -- Measuring the future -- The coming of machines -- Maths to come.
Added Author:
From our ability to calculate the passing of time to the algorithms that control computers and much else in our lives, numbers are everywhere. They are so indispensable that we forget how fundamental they are to our way of life. Mickaël Launay mixes history and anecdotes from around the world to reveal how mathematics became pivotal to the story of humankind. It is a journey into numbers with Launay as a guide. In museums, monuments or train stations, he uses the objects around us to explain what art can reveal about geometry, how Babylonian scholars developed one of the first complex written languages, and how 'Arabic' numbers were adopted from India. "It All Adds Up" also tells the story of how mapping the trajectory of an eclipse has helped to trace the precise day of one of the oldest battles in history, how the course of the modern-day Greenwich Meridian was established, and why negative numbers were accepted just last century.
Language Note:
Translated from French.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 510 LAU 0 1

On Order



How can poetry help us remember cubic equations or the sequence of one of the most complex numbers in the world? What do algorithms have to do with a seventh-century mathematician from Baghdad? How did a group of hired Greek walkers (and later, Egyptian camels) led by Alexander the Great help measure the circumference of the Earth? Book jacket.

Author Notes

Mickaël Launay graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm in 2009 with a degree in maths. He holds a PhD in probability and curates the Micmaths YouTube channel, which has garnered 24 million views and on which he has over 315,500 subscribers. He is the author of two previous books.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
1 Mathematicians without knowing itp. 1
2 And then there were numbersp. 14
3 Let no one ignorant of geometry enterp. 27
4 The age of theoremsp. 39
5 A little methodp. 56
6 ¿ in the skyp. 69
7 Nothing and less than nothingp. 83
8 The power of trianglesp. 95
9 Into the unknownp. 112
10 In sequencep. 123
11 Imaginary worldsp. 133
12 A language for mathematicsp. 147
13 The world's alphabetp. 163
14 The infinitely smallp. 176
15 Measuring the futurep. 188
16 The coming of machinesp. 205
17 Maths to comep. 221
Epiloguep. 238
To go furtherp. 241
Bibliographyp. 244
Indexp. 249