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A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science

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Book Overview

The Universe May Be a Mystery, But It's No Secret Michael Schneider leads us on a spectacular, lavishly illustrated journey along the numbers one through ten to explore the mathematical principles... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Why don't they teach this stuff in school?

I really did not like math when I was in school. What was the point? Manipulating a bunch of abstract concepts for the mere sake of doing the work. Why don't they teach this type of math in schools? Well anyway, I believe that you can not truly understand life, religion and the world around us without taking a long look at this beautiful knowledge that has been preserved for so many millenia. If you want to look into the mind of God, study the rules by which he organized the universe. And if you think that everything around you is chaos, read this book and look again. You will find that everything from the microscopic to universal aggregate is striving toward simple and beautiful geometric patterns. The author does a nice job of giving to the reader a piece of his deep understanding and love for this subject. This book is more of a textbook and is neatly organized. I highly recommend also getting a copy of Sacred Geometry: Philosophy and Practice by Robert Lawlor. It has lots of excercises to emerse the student in the beauty of geometric relationships. These two books go hand-in-hand. Lastly, I can not emphasize enough how much more understanding I gained about religion by learning geometry. Does that sound bizzare? I suppose, but it is true.

Relates Geometry to Life

This is a very well written book that relates some basic concepts in geometry to science, architecture and life. Each of the ten chapters is about a geometric shape and Mr. Schneider shows how to construct it using only compass and straight-edge. The author begins every construction from a circle, and every line is shown as the intersection of two or more circles. This is consistent with his assertion in Chapter One that the circle is Unity, but I believe it is also more accurate geometrically.Mr. Schneider gets into the Platonic Solids, explains the golden section and its use in architecture and nature, shows the regularity in nature and a lot more. This is a very educational book that covers a lot of ground, and does so in an entertaining way. What I really like about the book is the author's ability to bring geometry to life. There are many diagrams, drawings and pictures which make it easy to follow the text.The book is written for the layman, not the mathematician. If you are looking for a more rigorous introduction to geometry, try reading H.M.S. Coxeter (if you can!). This book would be a nice companion to "The Power of Limits" by Doczi, 'The Geometry of Art and Life" by Ghyka, and "The Divine Proportion" by Huntley. If I had to recommend only one book about geometry for the average reader, this book would be my first choice.

Recounts the Hidden Role of Number in Art and Science

This book is a labor of love...and discipline, and hard work. The quotations given on the wide margins of most pages are worth the price of admission alone. For instance, "The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion with correctness, this surely is the ideal (William James). It is also the theme of the book.But that is only the beginning. There are at least two, to as many as ten, illustrations on each page, half being scientific, the other half artistic. My favorite combination is the splash crater of a milk drop on p. 11 and the Hindu deity Shiva Nataraj on p. 4. They form a complimentary pair visually and philosophically, both illustrating the monad, a generating center with a resultant circle of generated objects.In the next two chapters, two intersecting circles lead to the tension-filled dyad whose resolution is in the triad, which breaks the tension by allowing expansion to another dimension.In my words, this sounds a bit mystical and foggy, but Schneider provides just the right amount of background which carries you into the heart of the world of numbers, showing how they reflect both the scientific construction of the universe as well as artistic human creations.The longest chapter is on the number five, which remarkably leads to the spiral, and to the generation of life. These are very valuable insights, much to be pondered. This chapter also contains an excellent discussion of the Golden Mean, the number 1.618..., which is often found in nature as well as in human expeience.Just pick the book up sometime and glance at the quotations and illustrations. If you can resist buying it, you are a better man than I am.

An addictive adventure in the history of natural math.

It was very difficult to put this book down. Not only does Schneider evince a love and profound knowledge of his material, but he communicates his passion to the reader with a clarity uncharacteristic of many math exposeurs. It is a perfect teaching vehicle for parents and their children to foster a heartfelt respect for the mathematical majesty of nature, using examples from cultural history across the globe. His discussion of music and symbolic geometry is especially enlightening. This book should be required reading for any and all educators. A wonderful read!

Very accessible "sacred geometry" book!

I'm quite biased because I'm the author. Just thought I'd mention that it took over 20 years of research and 2 years to write & illustrate (500 illus!), plus hundreds of relevant quotations in the side margins. The numbers 1-10 ( & 12) are the key to the code of nature's designs, and are the basis of an ancient symbolic language used to design the arts, crafts & architecture worldwide. Each of 10 chapters looks at that number & its related shapes, as they appear in nature's beautiful forms, in art, in symbolism, and as archetypes of our own spiritual nature. Shapes are the characters of the alphabet in which the Book of Nature is written, and this is a "math" book with no math (the kind of cold "math" we were shown in school, anyway). Some people call it "sacred geometry". This book will save you years of research, and show you how to appreciate the shapes of nature as a symbolic language familiar to our deepest self. Every shape has a "meaning" and this book shows you what they are. Reviews (Parabola Journal Winter 95, New Age Journal 8/95, etc, all remark how "accessible" it is. I hope you enjoy it. If you read it, write me, if you like. Happy Trails! Michael S. Schneider NYC
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