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The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics
by
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 busin ...more
Solving the Riemann Hypothesis could change the way we do busin ...more
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Paperback, 335 pages
Published
November 14th 2014
by Harper Perennial
(first published 2003)
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Popular Answered Questions
Brendon McBain
God is often used when a phenomenon cannot be explained, and prime numbers have many unexplained properties.
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Start your review of The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics
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 rema ...more
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 rema ...more
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 c ...more
So, what’s the deal? In short: a hitherto unsolved problem in the field of number theory, the so c ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
But this book has a serious flaw. The math was really dumbed down ...more
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 mathema
...more
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 t ...more
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 t ...more
Jul 18, 2008
Andrea
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Recommends it for:
Alysia, Gwen, Robbin
Recommended to Andrea by:
Sally
Shelves:
scientific-journalism,
math
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 littl
...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
Apr 25, 2009
Des
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
british,
science-philosophy
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.
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 an
...more
May 16, 2009
Nina Tandon
is currently reading it
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 "insi
...more
Prime numbers and their distribution have always been one of the more interesting subjects to talk about. This book takes you through the whole journey of starting out with finding the first few prime numbers to trying to find a pattern on how primes are spread through the universe of natural numbers. The list of protagonists include Euclid, Euler, Gauss, Riemann, Polignac, Hilbert, Hardy, Littlewood, Ramanujan, Godel, Turing to name a few. Naturally, the book focuses on one of the most importan
...more
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 t ...more
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 t ...more
Apr 25, 2010
Aaron Humphrey
rated it
really liked it
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
non-fiction,
library
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 th
...more
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 al ...more
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 al ...more
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.
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.
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 enj ...more
I am by no means anything more than a dilettante in rigorous mathematics, but I thoroughly enj ...more
Jul 31, 2011
Jishnu Bhattacharya
rated it
it was amazing
·
review of another edition
Shelves:
popular-science,
non-fiction
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 n
...more
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 math
...more
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 Ri
...more
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 es
...more
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? ...more
Who knew prime numbers (and mathematicians!) were so fascinating? ...more
Mar 19, 2015
Ami Iida
rated it
it was amazing
Recommends it for:
Riemann hypothesis, prime numbers
Shelves:
math
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.
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.
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... ...more
http://onewayroad123.blogspot.in/2012... ...more
topics | posts | views | last activity | |
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Goodreads Italia: GdL Saggistica Gennaio-Febbraio 2019 L'enigma dei numeri primi | 9 | 93 | Jul 05, 2019 02:44AM | |
UCAS English 10 H...: April Reading | 2 | 3 | Apr 16, 2018 09:04PM |
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