The Triumph of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life

Cohen, I. Bernard

Consulting and collecting numbers has been a feature of human affairs since antiquity-from the pyramids to tax collection to head counts for military service-but not until the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century did social numbers such as births, deaths and marriages begin to be analysed. The Triumph of Numbers explores how numbers have come to assume a leading role in science, in the operations and structure of government, in the analysis of society, in marketing and in many other aspects of daily life. The late I.B. Cohen shows how number problems of government, science and engineering led to the invention of the computer. He shines a new light on familiar figures like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Charles Dickens, and he reveals Florence Nightingale as a passionate statistician. Cohen has left us with an engaging and accessible history of numbers, and an appreciation and understanding of the essential nature of statistics.

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