Hot Best Seller

The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics

Availability: Ready to download

In 1859, German mathematician Bernhard Riemann presented a paper to the Berlin Academy that would forever change the history of mathematics. The subject was the mystery of prime numbers. At the heart of the presentation was an idea that Riemann had not yet proved but one that baffles mathematicians to this day. Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do In 1859, German mathematician Bernhard Riemann presented a paper to the Berlin Academy that would forever change the history of mathematics. The subject was the mystery of prime numbers. At the heart of the presentation was an idea that Riemann had not yet proved but one that baffles mathematicians to this day. Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do business, since prime numbers are the lynchpin for security in banking and e-commerce. It would also have a profound impact on the cutting-edge of science, affecting quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and the future of computing. Leaders in math and science are trying to crack the elusive code, and a prize of $1 million has been offered to the winner. In this engaging book, Marcus du Sautoy reveals the extraordinary history behind the holy grail of mathematics and the ongoing quest to capture it.


Compare

In 1859, German mathematician Bernhard Riemann presented a paper to the Berlin Academy that would forever change the history of mathematics. The subject was the mystery of prime numbers. At the heart of the presentation was an idea that Riemann had not yet proved but one that baffles mathematicians to this day. Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do In 1859, German mathematician Bernhard Riemann presented a paper to the Berlin Academy that would forever change the history of mathematics. The subject was the mystery of prime numbers. At the heart of the presentation was an idea that Riemann had not yet proved but one that baffles mathematicians to this day. Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do business, since prime numbers are the lynchpin for security in banking and e-commerce. It would also have a profound impact on the cutting-edge of science, affecting quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and the future of computing. Leaders in math and science are trying to crack the elusive code, and a prize of $1 million has been offered to the winner. In this engaging book, Marcus du Sautoy reveals the extraordinary history behind the holy grail of mathematics and the ongoing quest to capture it.

30 review for The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics

  1. 5 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Natural Religion If there is advanced technological life elsewhere in the universe, it would unlikely be Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish, or Buddhist. It would however certainly know the same mathematics that we do. And it would understand the phenomenon of the prime numbers and their significance as much as, perhaps more than, we do. Mathematics is the natural religion of the cosmos; and prime numbers are its central mystery. Prime numbers are those integers which can only be divided without Natural Religion If there is advanced technological life elsewhere in the universe, it would unlikely be Christian, or Muslim, or Jewish, or Buddhist. It would however certainly know the same mathematics that we do. And it would understand the phenomenon of the prime numbers and their significance as much as, perhaps more than, we do. Mathematics is the natural religion of the cosmos; and prime numbers are its central mystery. Prime numbers are those integers which can only be divided without remainder by themselves (or of course by 1). Put another way, as du Sautoy does, prime numbers are the atoms from which all other numbers are composed. 1, 2, 3, and 5 are prime. 4 is merely 2 x 2; and 6 is 2 x 3. 10 is 2 x 5. Prime numbers constitute the periodic table of mathematical elements which can be mixed and matched to form molecules and compounds of enormous size and complexity. Prime numbers become less frequent as numbers get larger. There are fewer in any interval greater than let’s say 1000, than the same interval less than 1000. This is intuitively obvious since the greater the number the more lesser numbers there that might be divided into it evenly. Interestingly, there is always at least one prime between any number and its double. The fun arises because although mathematicians know primes occur less and less frequently as we progress up the scale of numbers, no one knows how to predict when the next one will be encountered. They can be, and have been, calculated to very large numbers indeed, but they can’t be anticipated, only recognised once they appear.* Or should the term be ‘revealed’? Is it any wonder that prime numbers can take on an almost cultic significance? The 18th century philosopher, Denis Diderot, hated both religion and mathematics for the same reason. Both, he felt, provided a veil that obscured reality. Much of today’s popular aversion to mathematics may well be down to this same associative prejudice: if something isn’t immediately obvious or somewhat abstract, it is merely an unverifiable belief or theory and not worthy of respectable thought. There is a good reason for the religious, even spiritual, interpretation of mathematics - particularly number theory, and especially prime numbers. In the first instance, unlike any other area of human inquiry - even theology - the results obtained in mathematics never change. Euclid’s proofs may be superseded by more general analysis but they are nevertheless entirely correct and need no modification in a world of radically different cosmology and technology. Mathematics also shares another characteristic with religion: a concern with aesthetics. Religion orders the world. It provides comprehensibility in a world that might appear otherwise chaotic. And order is an essential component of beauty. Mathematicians not only investigate order as beauty, they collectively insist upon it in their evaluation of their work. A proof or a theorem just isn’t acceptable if it is ugly. The liturgy and art of the Roman Church has no advantage over the aesthetic wonder of the Euler Identity, which connects worlds even further apart than Heaven and Earth. And, it must be said in an era of fake news and rootless factoids, there is nothing quite so practical as a good theory. And mathematics has the best theories - in astronomy, encryption, communications, and logistics to name some of the most obvious areas that are dependent upon them. In fact understanding almost anything at all reported in the press or online demands familiarity with at least the most glaring abuses of mathematical logic. Not all of us, naturally, have the talent or discipline to become mathematicians. But most of us can appreciate the importance of history without being historians, or of engineering without building bridges. The real value of The Music of the Primes is that it inspires an appreciation of, and therefore interest in, the thought and thinkers that are perhaps the purest examples we have of shared human thought; who knows, perhaps cosmic thought. Mathematics - and its heroes like Euler, Gauss and Reimann, and Cauchy, and Godel - belong to all of humanity not just some sect. I find this inspiring. It is more than music; but music will do. *The search for ever larger prime numbers continues. Here is the latest discovery: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sci...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jafar

    Well, aren’t prime numbers really fascinating? If you’re rolling your eyes, then you should read this book. The main subject of the book is the Riemann Hypothesis. You have to be patient if you don’t know what it is. It takes about 100 pages of the book to get to the point where it (sort of) tells you what it is. There’s a particular complex function called zeta function. The zeros of this function can be used to correct a formula by Gauss that approximates the number of prime numbers less than Well, aren’t prime numbers really fascinating? If you’re rolling your eyes, then you should read this book. The main subject of the book is the Riemann Hypothesis. You have to be patient if you don’t know what it is. It takes about 100 pages of the book to get to the point where it (sort of) tells you what it is. There’s a particular complex function called zeta function. The zeros of this function can be used to correct a formula by Gauss that approximates the number of prime numbers less than any integer N. The hypothesis is that all these zeros have a real part of ½. Isn’t that fascinating? No? Not yet? Something must be wrong with you. The Riemann Hypothesis has become the most famous unsolved problem in math. There’s a one million dollar prize on it, but don’t quit your job to work on it because the geniuses-among-geniuses of mathematics have failed to crack this problem for 150 years. This book tells their story. There’s a lot of great math history in the book, plus a lot of number theory tidbit that I found fascinating (seriously). Du Sautoy is a great writer. And don’t tell me, Who cares about prime numbers, dude? Your internet encryption works based on modulo calculations on large prime numbers. Thank to them, you can enter your credit card numbers, knowing that even if someone intercepts the data it will be completely useless to them. Also, prime numbers can make you some money – and I’m not talking about the million dollar prize on the Riemann Hypothesis. C.I.A. will pay you 10,000 dollars for every prime number that is 100 digits or larger. Not bad, huh? And there are more 100-digit prime numbers than atoms in the entire known universe. Good luck finding one!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    There’s surprisingly little maths in this book about an unsolved maths problem, only a few scattered and rather simple equations and some graphs, all of which should be understandable for non-mathematicians. And even if you don’t, you can still follow the text easily. Marcus du Sautoy works a lot with metaphors, which is frowned upon by real mathematicians, but which help to keep the layman in line. So, what’s the deal? In short: a hitherto unsolved problem in the field of number theory, the so There’s surprisingly little maths in this book about an unsolved maths problem, only a few scattered and rather simple equations and some graphs, all of which should be understandable for non-mathematicians. And even if you don’t, you can still follow the text easily. Marcus du Sautoy works a lot with metaphors, which is frowned upon by real mathematicians, but which help to keep the layman in line. So, what’s the deal? In short: a hitherto unsolved problem in the field of number theory, the so called Riemann hypothesis, which the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann mentioned in his paper in 1859, and whose effect, if it ever turns out to be true, will make an important contribution to the understanding of prime numbers and their inner workings (those whole numbers greater than 1 that have no factors other than 1 and the number itself, staring with 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, … and of which there are infinitely many). Riemann has assumed that the zeros of a certain (admittedly rather complex) function, the Zeta-function, all lie on a certain critical line. There are an infinite number of these zeros, so one cannot simply determine and check them all with the help of a super computer, because even the most powerful computer cannot perform an infinite number of calculations in a finite time. In order to refute the hypothesis, it would be sufficient to find a single zero outside the critical line. This has been tried over the centuries, but without success: over 100 billion zeros have been checked by now (you can explore them here) and they all fit the hypothesis, but although this strongly suggests the hypothesis is true, it doesn’t count as an acceptable proof in maths. This problem is at the centre of the book. But around it the author builds up a whole cultural history of mathematics. Almost all mathematicians who dealt with prime numbers at some point and made their contributions found their rightful place here. The baton has been handed down over the centuries: Euklid, Euler, Gauss, Riemann, Hilbert, Hardy/Littlewood, Ramanujan, Gödel, Turing, to name but only a few of the best known actors. The book is filled with anecdotal stuff about all of these intriguing characters. In addition, one learns about the current state of cryptography, without which secure Internet communication would not be possible, and in which large prime numbers (100 digits and more) play an essential role. Should you read this? I would say, yes. If you’re interested in the history of maths/science in general (on the basis of a prominent example), I guess it’s hard to come by a presentation that is more simple but has the same high level of seriousness, fun, and sophistication. By the way, if it’s fame and wealth you’re after: The Riemann hypothesis belong to the list of the so called Millennium Prize Problems stated by the Clay Mathematics Institute in 2000. Solving any of these problems will get you a US$1,000,000 prize and, of course, will give you immortal fame among mathematicians. Good luck! PS. The words in this review at prime positions are underlined. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Noel Bush

    I'm most grateful to this book for finally enabling me to understand the Riemann Hypothesis. My love for math was derailed in high school when I got in over my head, and ever since it's always such a pleasure for me to find something that can help me taste some of that world that I missed out on. This book does a wonderful job of taking you through the development of some very cool math by telling the stories of the people who made important discoveries. You get a very clear sense of how I'm most grateful to this book for finally enabling me to understand the Riemann Hypothesis. My love for math was derailed in high school when I got in over my head, and ever since it's always such a pleasure for me to find something that can help me taste some of that world that I missed out on. This book does a wonderful job of taking you through the development of some very cool math by telling the stories of the people who made important discoveries. You get a very clear sense of how mathematics is like one enormous conversation spanning centuries. This may really be the most well-written book on mathematics that I've ever read, and I've been through quite a few. I learned a lot about many mathematicians I had only a passing knowledge of, such as those of the Göttingen school (now I want to take a trip there!). But most exciting of all for me was that I was able to follow along, from the earliest discoveries about prime numbers, right up through the latest work in this century...and although the book never gets technical, I truly feel like the author pulled no punches in laying out the reality of what people have been going after, and why, for all these years.

  5. 4 out of 5

    حسن

    The Music of The Primes, a wonderful and amazing journey to the world of prime numbers and patterns it was at the summer of 2009 when i was first introduced to the beauty and strength of the primes when the instructor asked us to implement some factorization problems in my second programming course, it was at that class where he shed a little light on the true beauty of primes talking about RSA encryption which is discussed in a late chapter of the book. almost one year later, i had the chance The Music of The Primes, a wonderful and amazing journey to the world of prime numbers and patterns it was at the summer of 2009 when i was first introduced to the beauty and strength of the primes when the instructor asked us to implement some factorization problems in my second programming course, it was at that class where he shed a little light on the true beauty of primes talking about RSA encryption which is discussed in a late chapter of the book. almost one year later, i had the chance to dive deeper in the world of primes while studying Number Theory at another course, and what a world it was! this book is concerned about prime numbers, exploring them .. and illustrating the most famous problems related to them. some of which were solved, and some remained unsolved till this day. the most famous problem of them all is The Riemann Hypothesis which is discussed all along the book due to its importance, struggles and implications it will have (if solved) on other problems, mathematics and other sciences like physics. du Sautoy takes the reader into a long journey exposing the ideas of the greatest minds ever, starting from Fermat, moving to Gauss, Riemann, Gödel, the enigma code breaker and father of AI and computing Alan Turing .. and many many others. Marcus is very good at clarifying scientific concepts, he explains the Riemann Hypothesis really well that you grasp the core of it even if you're not a mathematician. i remember i came across the Riemann Hypothesis before reading this book and i tried to understand it by reading its Wikipedia related articles several times, but without having the slightest of idea about it! not until i read this book i understood what it is really about and realized how big its potential is. the book explores The Riemann Hypothesis which is mainly a problem of navigating the primes looking for a pattern. this is a really great book, one of the best i ever read. and i gotta say, du Sautoy's books are better than his documentaries. which reminds me to watch the televised series of this book presented by du Sautoy :D as written on the back of the book, "A book not to be put down"! cheers!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill Ward

    This book was at its heart a biography of the Reimann Hypothesis, and of the mathematicians who worked on trying to prove or disprove it over the years. I really liked the way that it showed the relationships among the people involved, and how the centers of number theory research shifted from Paris to Göttingen to Princeton, and how this was caused in large part by the geopolitics of the area (Napoleon and Hitler in particular). But this book has a serious flaw. The math was really dumbed down This book was at its heart a biography of the Reimann Hypothesis, and of the mathematicians who worked on trying to prove or disprove it over the years. I really liked the way that it showed the relationships among the people involved, and how the centers of number theory research shifted from Paris to Göttingen to Princeton, and how this was caused in large part by the geopolitics of the area (Napoleon and Hitler in particular). But this book has a serious flaw. The math was really dumbed down for this book, with very little attempt to teach any of the concepts involved beyond vague metaphors. I feel that this would be frustrating for anyone with a real interest in math and number theory, and that the topic itself would be of little interest to people without the mathematical background, so I wish the author had given us a little more credit for our math skills (he is a professor of mathematics, so I know he could do it). I suppose in conjunction with a real math book, this could give some interesting insights into the history of our understanding of prime numbers, but I felt ultimately that the lack of real math in the book made it a lot less enjoyable and informative than it could have been.

  7. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    I love maths and books on math. But this book just plain bored me to tears. I made it halfway through and could not find any reason to continue.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    You are not going to believe that a book on a math subject would be hard to put down but this book is brilliantly written. I started reading this with doubts I would actually finish and I keep getting hooked into reading the next chapter and the next chapter. The author writes the whole book like this is THE GREATEST treasure hunt ever. He starts out by talking about the million dollar prize for the person who can prove Riemann's Hypothesis. Then he tells the story of how people discovered You are not going to believe that a book on a math subject would be hard to put down but this book is brilliantly written. I started reading this with doubts I would actually finish and I keep getting hooked into reading the next chapter and the next chapter. The author writes the whole book like this is THE GREATEST treasure hunt ever. He starts out by talking about the million dollar prize for the person who can prove Riemann's Hypothesis. Then he tells the story of how people discovered little pieces of the puzzle and how astonished they were by their discovery and even the reader is astonished. This book is written about the field of math but you don't have to understand everything about the subject to enjoy the book. It is written at a level that anyone can understand. I was intrigued by the title which seems to say that there is a connection between music and prime numbers. When I read the chapter that inspired the title I was literally floored. There really is a sound/frequency associated with each of these "magical" numbers that are the building blocks of every other number. The author compares prime numbers to the chemist's Periodic Table except that there are an infinite number of prime numbers. The author also explains how if you look at the prime numbers one way they look random, but if you look at them another way, they all line up. For those who like history, this reads like a story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    How do I love Marcus du Sautoy? Let me count the ways. Nicked this off my dad during my A levels, ended up buying my own copy and taking it to university because I wanted to lend it out to people without him getting upset. It's accessible, broad and fascinating - perfect for the enthusiastic amateur and armchair mathematician. For the record, you may write "enthusiastic amateur" on my tombstone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Baal Of

    Hidden behind this unfortunately ugly cover is a beautiful story about the Riemann Hypothesis and the mathematics around the prime numbers. During my first semester of college my Calculus professor tried to talk me into going into mathematics instead of computer science, and there is a part of me that regrets not having done so, but then I read a book like this, and realize that the minds behind these theorems and proofs are so far beyond anything I could ever hope to achieve that I'm humbled Hidden behind this unfortunately ugly cover is a beautiful story about the Riemann Hypothesis and the mathematics around the prime numbers. During my first semester of college my Calculus professor tried to talk me into going into mathematics instead of computer science, and there is a part of me that regrets not having done so, but then I read a book like this, and realize that the minds behind these theorems and proofs are so far beyond anything I could ever hope to achieve that I'm humbled and relieved. Instead I can sit back and occasionally work through a book like this, vicariously enjoying the astonishment, frustration, and brilliance of those who think in these incredibly abstract and abstruse worlds. I loved learning about how the prime numbers tied into quantum theory, and of course I was already familiar with their importance in cryptography. Sautoy does an excellent job of delivering the history with plenty of mathematical depth, and revealing the humanity of the people behind those walls.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nina Tandon

    I really like the quote from Weber "When the globe is covered with a set of railroads and telegraph wires, this net will render services comparable to those of the nervous system in the human body, partly as a means of transport, partly as a means for the propagation of ideas and sensations with the speed of lightning." For me, having grown up with the internet and extant high-speed transportation systems, I was attracted to physiology because of the analogy I saw between the "outside" and I really like the quote from Weber "When the globe is covered with a set of railroads and telegraph wires, this net will render services comparable to those of the nervous system in the human body, partly as a means of transport, partly as a means for the propagation of ideas and sensations with the speed of lightning." For me, having grown up with the internet and extant high-speed transportation systems, I was attracted to physiology because of the analogy I saw between the "outside" and "inside" worlds...it must have been amazing to build that analogy in reverse, through witnessing the creation of the world's first high-speed transportation and communication systems. It makes me wonder what pther such biological/technological analogies we are witnessing the creation of, that will be come obvious with coming years...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Des

    Wow, I am not mathematically inclined at all but this was a thrill to read. what a talent to bring complex mathematics and the prime numbers to more people. Thanks to Du Sautoy. This book enriched my life.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Huw Evans

    Prime numbers are unique; they can only be divided by themselves and the number one. They crop up irregularly as you count upwards and are seemingly wholly unpredictable in their occurrence. There is an infinite number of them and they appear to be as important in life, the universe and everything as the numbers in the Fibonacci series. There seems to be an inherent need in mathematics to rationalise and predict with a level of accuracy that goes beyond the normal. Only if the sun can be proved Prime numbers are unique; they can only be divided by themselves and the number one. They crop up irregularly as you count upwards and are seemingly wholly unpredictable in their occurrence. There is an infinite number of them and they appear to be as important in life, the universe and everything as the numbers in the Fibonacci series. There seems to be an inherent need in mathematics to rationalise and predict with a level of accuracy that goes beyond the normal. Only if the sun can be proved to have risen every day for an infinite number of days will a mathematician be happy to tell you that the sun rises. He may not be able to tell you why it rises or what the impact of its rising is but he will be happy to tell you that, under certain circumstances, it will rise every morning. In 1859 Bernard Reimann published his hypothesis on prime numbers; that the real part of any non trivial zero of the Riemann zeta function is 1/2. It was apparently proven by Riemann himself but the proof was never found, reportedly burned by his housekeeper when tidying up after his death. Since then many mathematicians have devoted their efforts to providing enough evidence that this is true. Even with the advent of supercomputers and the finding of prime numbers with a million digits, which still fulfil the hypothesis, it has not been proven satisfactorily. Attempts to disprove it have been equally unsuccessful by not finding a single prime number that doesn't behave in this way. So far, so good. I am not a mathematician and, even now, I could not explain to you the derivation and use of a zeta function - there may be none for all I know. This is a book as much about mathematicians as it is about their subject matter, and they are every bit as fascinating. These are people who are so driven by the abstract that they seem to want to find the rules that govern even the most random events using a language that has evolved in huge leaps to the point of being unrecognisable by ordinary men. Marcus de Sautoy speaks clearly throughout this book and the mathematics is not overpowering. In fact I found the most interesting section was the application of prime number mathematics to internet security and cryptography. At the end of the book, I confess, no mathematical light had clicked on in my head and some of even the most basic stuff left me puzzled but, overall, this is an impressive, erudite and coherent read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Humphrey

    I was fascinated with prime numbers myself for years. Many of my classmates could (if they had been paying attention) attest to the fact that I spent much of my class time, in high school math and many university courses, factorizing random 7- and 8-digit numbers, often when I really should have been paying attention and taking notes. I had the primes up to at least 200 memorized. I often wondered if there were easier ways to factorize, and I'm still not convinced there are, though apparently I was fascinated with prime numbers myself for years. Many of my classmates could (if they had been paying attention) attest to the fact that I spent much of my class time, in high school math and many university courses, factorizing random 7- and 8-digit numbers, often when I really should have been paying attention and taking notes. I had the primes up to at least 200 memorized. I often wondered if there were easier ways to factorize, and I'm still not convinced there are, though apparently there are easier ways to determine whether a number is prime or not. So this book pricked my interest immediately. This book covers a lot of different topics about prime numbers, moving quickly into general statements and conjectures, and spends a lot of time at the heart of the prime number problem, the Riemann Hypothesis. It has something to do with a function (the Riemann zeta function) having an infinite number of zeroes on the complex plane, and whether those zeroes are all on the same line or not. The implications of this go over my head (I didn't get that far in complex analysis, sadly), but I gather that proving the Hypothesis could lead to, say, an easy way to generate prime numbers, and thus, potentially, an easy way to break RSA encryption. It strikes about the right balance between the math and the mathematicians. One seldom thinks of how, for instance, the French Revolution or World War I impact the progress of mathematics (as opposed to, say, physics). As someone who's gone far enough in university math to understand most, if not all, of the concepts in the book, I found it enlightening, though I am both filled with respect for the mathematicians who made the discoveries in the book and more certain I could never really be one of them. I remember seeing some kind of PBSish show on TV (in our hotel room in Orlando) about the Riemann Hypothesis, which was so overdramatized that it felt like "Behind The Math". It spent more time on the failures, the people whose careers were blighted by trying to prove the Hypothesis, not to mention John "Beautiful Mind" Nash's disastrous public breakdown while lecturing on the subject. I enjoyed this much more, but then, I'd rather read a nonfiction book than watch a documentary any day. Maybe not for the faint of math, though I can't really judge.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Shadab Zafar

    Mathematicians feel like characters and the course of history feels like a fictional story beautifully woven by du Sautoy. This is the story of an outcast, a loner, who in his ten paged paper made a little hunch. It, also is, a story of an indian clerk who believed that a goddess was responsible for his contributions to mathematics. The story of a city which was home to some of the greatest mathematicians. A story of how the atoms of arithmetic lie at the heart of modern e-business. But most of Mathematicians feel like characters and the course of history feels like a fictional story beautifully woven by du Sautoy. This is the story of an outcast, a loner, who in his ten paged paper made a little hunch. It, also is, a story of an indian clerk who believed that a goddess was responsible for his contributions to mathematics. The story of a city which was home to some of the greatest mathematicians. A story of how the atoms of arithmetic lie at the heart of modern e-business. But most of all, this is the story of a problem, which, since its formulation in 1859 has baffled the greatest of minds - The Riemann Hypothesis. Many have devoted their entire career in search for a solution, only to find nothing. Many loved it so much that they didn't want to die before a proof was presented. Many have gone crazy in the search, never to return back. But the hypothesis still stands strong. Some believe its time has come while others feel that it'll survive its bicentenary. Some believe it is false where other think that it is true but unprovable. The hypothesis, having originated from pure arithmetic, has found its way to quantum mechanics and chaos theory and a proof would have far reaching consequences. If you have the slightest of interest in mathematics, this book is a must read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabigabigabi

    The main idea of the book is the Riemann hypothesis.The book begins with the story of the primes.It recounts the main characters, who have contributed with respect to Riemann hypothesis. The Riemann hypothesis,regarded as the most important unsolved problems not only in mathematics but the whole science . This is an important book for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joel George

    I was a little apprehensive about reading the latter part of The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics, when it got a little weary, and I went through a few discouraging reviews I found here on the style of writing it followed. But I must say, that I am glad I stuck to my instincts, without letting too much room for empty prejudice to put a damper on the experience. I am by no means anything more than a dilettante in rigorous mathematics, but I thoroughly I was a little apprehensive about reading the latter part of The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics, when it got a little weary, and I went through a few discouraging reviews I found here on the style of writing it followed. But I must say, that I am glad I stuck to my instincts, without letting too much room for empty prejudice to put a damper on the experience. I am by no means anything more than a dilettante in rigorous mathematics, but I thoroughly enjoy subjecting myself to the enchanting sway that it, and Number theory in particular, seem to possess. For me, this is very much like enjoying music without delving too deep into the intricacies that accompany its creation. The theatre needs both the master and his audience for a performance to be complete. The difference though, is that with mathematics, the delight is primarily of the author, and rarely translates to the masses because of the unrelenting veil of complexity involved. Considering the ensuing difficulty of striking and maintaining a balance between amateur-friendly and enticingly original, Marcus du Sautoy has done a remarkable job with the subject. The book is a historical journey through mankind's tussle with prime numbers. It is replete with all the exciting plot twists that led to arguably the greatest open problem in number theory, - The Riemann Hypothesis - and the implications its solution might bear for the future. It's not perfect, nothing ever is, but I would recommend it to anyone with a curiosity to the world of numbers and patterns. You just have to bear with a few bumps along the journey where you're left yearning for more or wishing you can circumnavigate. But it will not take away from what is, otherwise, an exhilarating story line that runs through the heart of Number theory.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jishnu Bhattacharya

    The Music of the Primes is an amazing introduction to the Riemann hypothesis. I'm a bit biased here, since I like math, and have some idea about the subject matter. If you know a bit about prime counting, logarithms, modular arithmetic and quantum mechanics, you can't put this down. Even the people who don't like math might find it interesting, it is so well written. The language is lucid, and even complicated mathematical concepts are presented in a way that is easy to understand. In fact, he The Music of the Primes is an amazing introduction to the Riemann hypothesis. I'm a bit biased here, since I like math, and have some idea about the subject matter. If you know a bit about prime counting, logarithms, modular arithmetic and quantum mechanics, you can't put this down. Even the people who don't like math might find it interesting, it is so well written. The language is lucid, and even complicated mathematical concepts are presented in a way that is easy to understand. In fact, he never uses the equation of the hypothesis, explaining everything through simple words. The only formula used is an amusing (view spoiler)[prime generating formula that uses all 26 letters of the alphabet (hide spoiler)] . More than just the history of the hypothesis, this book is a journey through the development of modern mathematics, how ideas formed and spread, how world wars slowed down the breakthroughs and overall, how brilliant minds work. Strongly recommended for anyone who likes science, and has heard of the Riemann hypothesis!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is reasonably well written, and provides fascinating insights both into the history of mathematics and into the strange world of modern number theory. As a result, it helped change my view of what maths is, and realise that it should be a fascinating journey of discovery, a million miles away from the dry routine of calculation and prescribed problem-solving I remember from school. On the other hand, I have to admit that most of the I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, it is reasonably well written, and provides fascinating insights both into the history of mathematics and into the strange world of modern number theory. As a result, it helped change my view of what maths is, and realise that it should be a fascinating journey of discovery, a million miles away from the dry routine of calculation and prescribed problem-solving I remember from school. On the other hand, I have to admit that most of the maths was over my head, and I felt a little frustrate that the author skirted round much of it instead of trying to explain it. If the maths is really too complicated for a general reader like me (and maybe it is) then should it really be the subject of a popular science book like this?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo d'Orey

    This is a really well written and fascinating book on the history of the Riemann hypothesis and the people involved trying to solve it. Hardly any maths involved so a easy and fast read. Not much more to say as there are already many great reviews already written about it but in particular I liked the clear explanation of how modulus arithmetic and cryptography (RSA system) works. If you desire to learn more about the Riemann hypothesis or are thinking about reading "Prime Obsession, Bernhard This is a really well written and fascinating book on the history of the Riemann hypothesis and the people involved trying to solve it. Hardly any maths involved so a easy and fast read. Not much more to say as there are already many great reviews already written about it but in particular I liked the clear explanation of how modulus arithmetic and cryptography (RSA system) works. If you desire to learn more about the Riemann hypothesis or are thinking about reading "Prime Obsession, Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics" then I think one would be well advised to read this book first to prepare the ground. I guess this the kind of book that makes maths so sexy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    This book, read after Popco and 13 Things That Don't Make Sense, has made me really really want to study number theory. Maybe even give up on that whole history and social justice thing I've been doing and just be a mathematician..... Who knew prime numbers (and mathematicians!) were so fascinating?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Hewlett

    The quest for finding a pattern among prime numbers is as old as number theory itself and is certainly well-represented in book form (see Prime Obsession). But The Music of the Primes presents a lucid, unbiased look at the evolution of prime number theory, not just Reimann's most famous take on the problem. It gets a little heavy at the end (as most great math books do) with the evolution of parallel processing and the subsequent exponential growth of digits, but it's still one of my top-five The quest for finding a pattern among prime numbers is as old as number theory itself and is certainly well-represented in book form (see Prime Obsession). But The Music of the Primes presents a lucid, unbiased look at the evolution of prime number theory, not just Reimann's most famous take on the problem. It gets a little heavy at the end (as most great math books do) with the evolution of parallel processing and the subsequent exponential growth of digits, but it's still one of my top-five essential math books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ami Iida

    This book is written with respect to Riemann hypothesis. It has been written about the history of the prime number. Riemann hypothesis is not yet resolved. It is written in relation to the process of solving Riemann hypothesis. It is written also in relation to other mathematical problems with it. They are a great achievement. This book is not conclusive. Human being have the development of the Riemann hypothesis. Early I hope we can solve Riemann hypothesis . It will contribute to humanity.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robin Hughes

    The greatest maths book I have read yet, it makes number theory immensely simple. Theoretically an exposition of the Riemann Hypothesis, widely seen as the most important unsolved problem in maths, it takes in all the most groundbreaking maths of the last 500 years.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nithesh

    This is one of the most wonderful books on Math that I have read. Added it only now, since goodreads suggested me to read it again. I had just not updated it here. A detailed writeup is on my blog http://onewayroad123.blogspot.in/2012...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    An amazing romp through the history of the search for proof of the Riemann Hypothesis. Every page has an idea or a personality that makes you want to hunt down and read *another* book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Piyush Yadav

    A psychological thriller. A curious case for pure mathematics and the mathematician.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marco Parravano

    I read the whole book sitting on the shore during summer vacation. My girlfriend would complain about me reading nerd stuff like I never did. God, I wish she could know what I know now!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Synthetic Vox

    The first two-thirds were enthralling. By the time it hit Turing it became a bit of a slog—right when the theories were getting ever more esoteric. I look forward to understanding better any further breakthroughs in prime number theory.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    A very good book, not just because prime numbers are interesting and fascinating, but because it presents a lot of collaborations between scientist that do not care about gender, race, location. These stories, beside being funny, strange and amazing, give you faith in humanity. From my point of view it insists a bit too much on Riemann Hypothesis and some math concepts are not deeply explained.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.