Boolean algebra, also called Boolean logic, is at the heart of the electronic circuitry in everything we use - from our computers and cars, to our kitchen gadgets and home appliances. How did a system of mathematics established in the Victorian era become the basis for such incredible technological achievements a century later? In The Logician and the Engineer, best-selling popular math writer Paul Nahin combines engaging problems and a colorful historical narrative to tell the remarkable story of how two men in different eras - mathematician and philosopher George Boole (1815-1864) and electrical engineer and pioneering information theorist Claude Shannon (1916-2001) - advanced Boolean logic and became founding fathers of the electronic communications age.
Presenting the dual biographies of Boole and Shannon, Nahin examines the history of Boole's innovative ideas, and considers how they led to Shannon's groundbreaking work on electrical relay circuits and information theory. Along the way, Nahin presents logic problems for listeners to solve and talks about the contributions of such key players as Georg Cantor, Tibor Rado, and Marvin Minsky - as well as the crucial role of Alan Turing's "Turing machine" - in the development of mathematical logic and data transmission. Nahin takes listeners from fundamental concepts to a deeper and more sophisticated understanding of how a modern digital machine such as the computer is constructed. Nahin also delves into the newest ideas in quantum mechanics and thermodynamics in order to explore computing's possible limitations in the 21st century and beyond.
The Logician and the Engineer shows how a form of mathematical logic and the innovations of two men paved the way for the digital technology of the modern world.
©2012 Princeton University Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This is a book that would have been better if I read it instead of listen or it would be a good book for the e-book with whisper-sync. It was a bit hard to follow unless I took notes. Paul Nahin covered the innovative ideas and history of mathematician George Boole (1815-1864) and electrical engineer Claude Shannon (1918-2001). The book explained classic logic vs Boolean logic in depth. He also covered how Boolean algebra is the bases of electronic circuitry that everything today works on. He covered a great deal on data transmission and its importance in day to day live. The world would not function without this innovated body of work. Allan Robertson did a good job narrating the book.
A decade of listening.
When choosing a narrator for books in specialized fields, I wish that Audible would use narrators who understood the subject matter well enough to read the terms correctly, or at least get someone who does understand the material to review the rendition and offer guidance to the narrator.
While incorrectly pronouncing 'Euler' as 'ewler' or pronouncing 'Von Neumann' alternately as 'von newman' early in the book and later correcting it to 'von noyman' may be forgivable errors, the biggest caveat is that this book is bursting at the seams with boolean algebra. When reading out these lengthy compositions, peppered with parentheses, the narrator makes no indication of whether there are opening or closing parentheses, everything is just a "parenthesis." So, "X, parenthesis, Y, parenthesis, U, parenthesis," for example. What does that mean? X(Y(U ? X(Y(U)) ? X(Y)(U)? In this early, simple, example, one can figure out what was intended, but, later in the book, where it comes to multiple terms within each set of parentheses, with the narrator making no indication of whether each is an opening or closing parenthesis, it becomes impossible to form a mental picture of what is being set out.
Once or twice, that would be annoying enough, but the book is heavy on the boolean algebra, so you will find yourself drowning in impossible-to-decode two-minute ramblings of "X plus Y plus Z parenthesis X plus NOT Y plus Z parenthesis X plus Y plus NOT Z parenthesis NOT X plus Y plus Z..."
The book itself sounds like it might be very interesting, but, without appropriate narration, I would suggest a printed copy to figure out what's actually going on in there.
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