One, Two, Three…Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science

ISBN: 0140046666
ISBN 13: 9780140046663
By: George Gamow

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Reader's Thoughts


This is book is a type of modern encyclopedia that covers almost all subjects including science, mathematics, cosmology, biology, probability and lots more. Do not go with the book title because it is somewhat not accurate as initially I thought this book is about higher mathematics but later realized about a wide range of topics from all subjects. If you don't know much about mathematics but don't know about biology you'll learn here. This book is a complete tour of modern science and it teaches you everything that is necessary to know to understand some most complex theories of science.The book title is still misleading, such type of book should have title like a modern encyclopedia of higher physics, etc., but still book is amazing and loaded with some interesting facts.

James M. Madsen, M.D.

There are more recent and more relevant introductions to science, but this one was a classic for its time. It introduced me, for example, to the concepts of quantitatively different infinities, which I hadn't contemplated previously.

Charles Moffat

One of the first Science books I read in fourth grade I fell in love with chemistry and physics! The classic science book.

Karan Tyagi

I really like this book because it really gave a eye opening on space! It talks about science, space, math and many other stuff. My friend Will Lynch recommended me to read this book so i gave it a try and i really liked it. I will recommend this book to people that are interested in space and hard math problems.


Great book. To be completely honest, I haven't read the whole thing. I pick it up and put it down again, depending on my mood. The first chapters about numbers and how we learned to count were GREAT. Especially the section on the different sizes of infinity. Clearly explained and fun to think about. Some of it seems a bit dated, and that is perfectly ok. For a science book to be this old and still in print is a testament to how good it is. It is a fun book, and it has pictures. I like books with pictures.The only reason I haven't finished it yet is I'll get caught up reading another book- or actually a couple different books at the same time, and I've managed to finish a few others before finishing this one. I have a goal of finishing all the books I currently own before buying a new one, but I've recently discovered Richard Feynman so those plans might fall apart.


It's strange to think that at the time of writing, the double helix structure of DNA hadn't been discovered, man hadn't been on the moon and black holes were only just being theorized about. Still, Gamow's writing style makes the material relatively accessible and the hand-drawn illustrations were quite enjoyable. An interesting read for anyone wanting to take a time machine back to the mid twentieth century to see the forefront of science then.

Ahmed Sadek

1,2,3...∞أعظم كتاب في تبسيط العلوم قرأته حتى الآنجورج جاموف يمتلك أسلوباً ساحراً في توضيح أعقد الأفكار العلمية والفيزيائية خاصة .. كما يمتلك من العلم ما يؤهله أن يوضع على مصاف كبار العلماء.. ونسبت له نظرية الإنفجار الكبير حيث كان هو آخر من وضع النظرية الكاملة وبلورها في صورتها الحالية سنة 1948الكتاب جولة شيقة مابين الرياضيات البحتة والهندسة مروراً بالفيزياء والكيمياء والبيولوجيا ثم ختاماً بالفلك ونظريات نشوء الكون ونظريات الفوضى والاحتمالاتكما لا أخفي على القارئ أن الكاتب لديه موهبة جذابة في الحكي .. فربما كان يعمل روائياً في الخفاء بعد يوم علمي شاق!

Tommy Carlson

The Curve of Binding Energy makes many a reference to Gamow, including this non-fiction gem from 1947. It's a look at science covering a wide range from numbers themselves, hence the title, to the physical world from micro to macro scales. It's enhanced by illustrative drawings by Gamow himself, which are delightful.What I really loved about the book is that it's from an era far removed from my childhood. If you read enough science non-fiction, you get used to certain analogies being used to describe various things. This book far pre-dates anything I've read before on the subject. So the descriptions are new and novel to my eyes.It's also entertaining to see where future developments show him to be wrong. Some are technical, for example, the wrong hydrogen to helium fusion reaction for the sun. Some are more, well, almost philosophical. Gamow argues that protons and neutrons may well be the indivisible building blocks of nature. (Quarks don't show up until the 60s.)This probably isn't the book for a layperson looking to learn about science stuff. Rather, it's a book for the casual science fan who wants to see how science looked from the viewpoint of an earlier era.

Nick Black

Impulsive acquisition at Borders, 2008-04-08. Dover sure has put out a lot of books recently!This was better for the insight into Gamow as a scientific author than any of the actual details; anyone who's going to reach for a mid-century perspective on last century's physics from an eccentric Soviet, complete with hand-drawn comic-like illustrations and puns heavily weighted by innuendo, via the Dover Mathematics line -- known best for its republishing of opaque Eastern European textbooks having questionable heritage of copyright and symbolisms/terminologies/semantics whose correlations with modern standards are dicey at best -- is likely looking for the first time into neither quantum mysteries nor relativities. For that purpose, it served moderately well, although I intend to read My World Line sometime here and expect that to do better...


Having just read this fine book, closely preceded by the equally excellent Frontiers of Astronomy , I'm beginning to feel that the 40s and 50s were not just the Golden Age of science-fiction; they may also have been the Golden Age of popular science writing, a genre which certainly is not unconnected to SF. I have read a fair number of pop science books over the last year, and most of the modern ones are miserably unsatisfying. They are stylistically weak, the authors alternate between patronising you and boring you with anecdotes from their dull lives, and above all the science isn't well done: they can't find good ways to explain abstract concepts in familiar terms, and they fail to distinguish between fact and speculation. A particularly egregious offender is Susskind's The Cosmic Landscape , which I read a couple of weeks ago; other typical examples are Hawking ( The Grand Design ), Guth ( The Inflationary Universe ) and Krauss ( A Universe from Nothing ).Compared with these dull, pompous fantasists, George Gamow is a breath of fresh air. Despite not even being a native speaker of English, he writes better than any of them. He doesn't clutter up the narrative with stories about his personal life, and it's not exactly because he's short of material: he lived through the Russian Revolution and once tried to escape from the Soviet Union in a small boat. And I was impressed to see how many things he got right. He was one of the first people to see that the Big Bang made sense (he made large contributions to the theory), and he explains it well in the final chapter. He comes close to predicting DNA. He does a nice job of covering Relativity in semi-technical terms. And he's got lots of really pretty, original angles on all sorts of scientific and mathematical problems: visualizing the strength of the strong force, seeing the role neutrinos play in causing supernovae, getting an intuitive understanding of what a hypersphere is like. More than 60 years after its initial publication, this is still a fun read, even if some parts have inevitably been overtaken by more recent discoveries. Check it out and see what pop science ought to be like!

Chris Gager

On second thought I think this might have been the book I struggled to understand back in the 50's when I was in Jr. High in Boulder. Gamow was a "colleague" of my mother at C.U.(she worked as a receptionist at Wardenburg). Date read is approximate...

Ahmad Noaman

باديء ذو بدء هو واحد من الكتب الصعب أن تعطيها حقها مهما كتبت عنها ومدحت في محتواها .. هذا سبب والآخر أني شخصيابالرغم من اعتقادي أن استيعاب الكتاب تماما صعب من أول مرة الا أن 70% أو حتي 60 هي أكثر من كافة لتغيير محتواك العقلي ومنهجك الفكري كما وكيفا الكتاب يضع ببساطة -علي قدر الإمكان- علاقات رياضية وهندسية لوصف الكون والحياة والطاقة وحركة الذرات والجزيئات والمجرات والكواكب .. وكل العلاقات والأنظمة الكونية في محاولة لتوصيلها للقاريء بأقرب مايكون للمنطق -رياضيا-فنجد الكاتب يبدأ بفصول عن تاريخ الأعداد وأنواعها والعلاقات مابينها وكيفية الربط بينها وبين الواقع وكيف تم اكتشاف والوصول الي كل هذا .. ثم يصحبنا في رحلة عابرة علي مجالات الفيزياء والأحياء والكيمياء الحديثة مرورا بنظريات نيوتن الميكانيكية وأثرها ثم الي العبقري آينشتاين وتصوره للكون وكيفية توصله للنسبية .. ليختتم الكتاب برحلة عبر النجوم والمجرات وعلم الفلك لوصف النظام الكوني مَنشئا وتكوينا وتطورا في شكل أرقام وعلاقات رياضيةبل ووضع الكاتب فصلا أو اثنين في محاولة لوضع نمط معين لما يُسمي بعدم النظام أو العشوائية رياضيا ونجح الي حد ما في ذلك كتاب أقل ما يوصف به أنه عبقري

Ben Haley

I love laymen science and this is the best I've read. Gamow presents complex subjects with simple analogies and clever cartoons. His science, rivets like a jackhammer, pounding out universal revelations with each new page.One, Two, Three...Infinity walks us through the worlds of nuclear physics, cosmology, biology, relativity, quantum theory, and astrophysics without skipping a beat. We learn how to measure the height of an oil molecule in a bathtub, the rotation of our milky way with a red shift, and why everything wishes it were silver. Too often, the presentation of real science turns into an imagination's death march into a bleak world of facts and foreign vocabulary. But Gamow keeps it light and by transcending the minutia, makes a reader that floats above it and keeps its value even now, half a decade after its first publication.


This was given as a present with some very thoughtful intentions. Unlike "Zero: A Biography of a Dangerous Idea", this book was written in almost sraight text-book format instead of any semblance of story. I'm all for reading manuals and other dry topics, but couldn't get through this one.


The information in this book is a bit dated, but the writing is still great. Gamow was a master of explanation - he had a real gift for clear presentation of complex topics. Before Asimov, Feynman, or Sagan - there was Gamow. If you want a good introduction to the concepts of 20th century physics, this is an excellent place to start.

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