When we think about numbers, even if we’re thinking abstractly, we don’t usually think of anything like an axiomatic definition such as Peano arithmetic. We think about specific numbers and their symbols.
From a mathematical viewpoint, some numbers tell us important things. For example, the number zero, which for eons wasn’t even considered a number, practically changed the entire world once people understood it!
In this part of the book, we’re going to look at some of the special numbers used by mathematicians and scientists because they tell us interesting things about the world and how we, as human beings, understand it. Because their properties are sometimes startling, I call them funny numbers.