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Reviewed by Charles Remington for Readers' Favorite
Alain Negre has taken on the ambitious challenge of describing and analysing the various conscious and subconscious links which prime numbers have with physics, quantum mechanics, psychology and esoterica. Taking his starting point from the correspondence between psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli, he trawls through historical science and philosophy as far back as the Greek classical era right up to modern astrophysics and quantum mechanics to demonstrate his analysis.
The thoughts of great thinkers - from Plato and Aristotle, to Kepler, Einstein and Planck - are visited and there are many novel and intriguing thoughts and propositions to be found in this deep narrative. Negre seeks to demonstrate, using examples from Eastern philosophy, how the esoteric symbolism of numbers is hardly conceivable in the West as we view numbers as simply denoting quantity. Perhaps one of the more thought provoking opinions presented is that the basis of complex equations already exists in our subconscious - numbers merely give form and identity to the underlying concept.
The title - The Archetype of the Number and its Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology - gives the prospective reader a clue as to the complex subject matter contained in this book. As a layman, I hope I have done the book proper justice in my review because it is crammed with unique thoughts and ideas that deserve a wide audience. Mr Negre does not share that ease of communicating complex ideas with the likes of Richard Feynman, but I suppose simplified explanations for the concepts discussed would be very difficult to produce. A scholarly work and a worthwhile exploration of the esoteric side of numbers; be prepared, however, and make sure you have a dictionary and encyclopedia at your elbow when you tackle this interesting, thought-provoking book.