Prime Obsession

Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

Author: John Derbyshire

Publisher: Joseph Henry Press

ISBN: 0309141257

Category: Science

Page: 446

View: 9151

In August 1859 Bernhard Riemann, a little-known 32-year old mathematician, presented a paper to the Berlin Academy titled: "On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity." In the middle of that paper, Riemann made an incidental remark â€" a guess, a hypothesis. What he tossed out to the assembled mathematicians that day has proven to be almost cruelly compelling to countless scholars in the ensuing years. Today, after 150 years of careful research and exhaustive study, the question remains. Is the hypothesis true or false? Riemann's basic inquiry, the primary topic of his paper, concerned a straightforward but nevertheless important matter of arithmetic â€" defining a precise formula to track and identify the occurrence of prime numbers. But it is that incidental remark â€" the Riemann Hypothesis â€" that is the truly astonishing legacy of his 1859 paper. Because Riemann was able to see beyond the pattern of the primes to discern traces of something mysterious and mathematically elegant shrouded in the shadows â€" subtle variations in the distribution of those prime numbers. Brilliant for its clarity, astounding for its potential consequences, the Hypothesis took on enormous importance in mathematics. Indeed, the successful solution to this puzzle would herald a revolution in prime number theory. Proving or disproving it became the greatest challenge of the age. It has become clear that the Riemann Hypothesis, whose resolution seems to hang tantalizingly just beyond our grasp, holds the key to a variety of scientific and mathematical investigations. The making and breaking of modern codes, which depend on the properties of the prime numbers, have roots in the Hypothesis. In a series of extraordinary developments during the 1970s, it emerged that even the physics of the atomic nucleus is connected in ways not yet fully understood to this strange conundrum. Hunting down the solution to the Riemann Hypothesis has become an obsession for many â€" the veritable "great white whale" of mathematical research. Yet despite determined efforts by generations of mathematicians, the Riemann Hypothesis defies resolution. Alternating passages of extraordinarily lucid mathematical exposition with chapters of elegantly composed biography and history, Prime Obsession is a fascinating and fluent account of an epic mathematical mystery that continues to challenge and excite the world. Posited a century and a half ago, the Riemann Hypothesis is an intellectual feast for the cognoscenti and the curious alike. Not just a story of numbers and calculations, Prime Obsession is the engrossing tale of a relentless hunt for an elusive proof â€" and those who have been consumed by it.

Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis

The Quest to Find the Hidden Law of Prime Numbers

Author: Dan Rockmore

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307427943

Category: Mathematics

Page: 304

View: 4342

For 150 years the Riemann hypothesis has been the holy grail of mathematics. Now, at a moment when mathematicians are finally moving in on a proof, Dartmouth professor Dan Rockmore tells the riveting history of the hunt for a solution.In 1859 German professor Bernhard Riemann postulated a law capable of describing with an amazing degree of accuracy the occurrence of the prime numbers. Rockmore takes us all the way from Euclid to the mysteries of quantum chaos to show how the Riemann hypothesis lies at the very heart of some of the most cutting-edge research going on today in physics and mathematics. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Great Unknown Deluxe

Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science

Author: Marcus du Sautoy

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0735224927

Category: Science

Page: 464

View: 3527

“Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting.” —Bill Bryson This enhanced eBook edition takes readers even deeper into The Great Unknown with exclusive video and audio clips. Watch du Sautoy demonstrate chaos theory with his wooden pendulum, stumble to find logic in a paradoxical notecard, search his own iPhone for signs of consciousness, and show off the portable pot of uranium he purchased, curiously enough, off the Internet. Ever since the dawn of civilization we have been driven by a desire to know—to understand the physical world and the laws of nature. But are there limits to human knowledge? Are some things simply beyond the predictive powers of science? Or are those challenges the next big discovery waiting to happen? In The Great Unknown, one of the world’s most beloved mathematicians takes us into the minds of science’s greatest innovators as he probes the many deep mysteries we have yet to solve. He reminds us that major breakthroughs were often ridiculed at the time of their discovery and takes us on a whirlwind tour of seven frontiers of knowledge, where scientists are grappling with the unknown. Can you locate consciousness in the brain? Is our universe infinite? What is dark energy made of? What happens to time in space? Is it possible to beat ageing? At once exhilarating and mind-bending, The Great Unknown will challenge you to think in new ways about every aspect of the known world. It invites us to consider big questions—about who we are and the nature of God—that even the most creative scientists have yet to answer definitively.

The Great Mathematical Problems

Author: Ian Stewart

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847653510

Category: Mathematics

Page: 340

View: 8454

There are some mathematical problems whose significance goes beyond the ordinary - like Fermat's Last Theorem or Goldbach's Conjecture - they are the enigmas which define mathematics. The Great Mathematical Problems explains why these problems exist, why they matter, what drives mathematicians to incredible lengths to solve them and where they stand in the context of mathematics and science as a whole. It contains solved problems - like the Poincar Conjecture, cracked by the eccentric genius Grigori Perelman, who refused academic honours and a million-dollar prize for his work, and ones which, like the Riemann Hypothesis, remain baffling after centuries. Stewart is the guide to this mysterious and exciting world, showing how modern mathematicians constantly rise to the challenges set by their predecessors, as the great mathematical problems of the past succumb to the new techniques and ideas of the present.

Prime Numbers

The Most Mysterious Figures in Math

Author: David Wells

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781118045718

Category: Mathematics

Page: 288

View: 7455

A fascinating journey into the mind-bending world of prime numbers Cicadas of the genus Magicicada appear once every 7, 13, or 17 years. Is it just a coincidence that these are all prime numbers? How do twin primes differ from cousin primes, and what on earth (or in the mind of a mathematician) could be sexy about prime numbers? What did Albert Wilansky find so fascinating about his brother-in-law's phone number? Mathematicians have been asking questions about prime numbers for more than twenty-five centuries, and every answer seems to generate a new rash of questions. In Prime Numbers: The Most Mysterious Figures in Math, you'll meet the world's most gifted mathematicians, from Pythagoras and Euclid to Fermat, Gauss, and Erd?o?s, and you'll discover a host of unique insights and inventive conjectures that have both enlarged our understanding and deepened the mystique of prime numbers. This comprehensive, A-to-Z guide covers everything you ever wanted to know--and much more that you never suspected--about prime numbers, including: * The unproven Riemann hypothesis and the power of the zeta function * The "Primes is in P" algorithm * The sieve of Eratosthenes of Cyrene * Fermat and Fibonacci numbers * The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search * And much, much more

The Number Mysteries

A Mathematical Odyssey through Everyday Life

Author: Marcus du Sautoy

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780230120280

Category: Mathematics

Page: 272

View: 6298

Every time we download music, take a flight across the Atlantic or talk on our cell phones, we are relying on great mathematical inventions. In The Number Mysteries, one of our generation's foremost mathematicians Marcus du Sautoy offers a playful and accessible examination of numbers and how, despite efforts of the greatest minds, the most fundamental puzzles of nature remain unsolved. Du Sautoy tells about the quest to predict the future—from the flight of asteroids to an impending storm, from bending a ball like Beckham to forecasting population growth. He brings to life the beauty behind five mathematical puzzles that have contributed to our understanding of the world around us and have helped develop the technology to cope with it. With loads of games to play and puzzles to solve, this is a math book for everyone.

The Riemann Hypothesis

The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

Author: Karl Sabbagh

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780374250072

Category: Mathematics

Page: 340

View: 8083

An accessible meditation on the ultimate meaning of mathematics draws on the famous eight-page Riemann Hypothesis publication and the ongoing contest to prove his answer true and support his idea about the distribution of prime numbers.

Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture

Author: Apostolos Doxiadis

Publisher: Faber & Faber

ISBN: 057129569X

Category: Fiction

Page: 224

View: 2714

Uncle Petros is a family joke. An ageing recluse, he lives alone in a suburb of Athens, playing chess and tending to his garden. If you didn't know better, you'd surely think he was one of life's failures. But his young nephew suspects otherwise. For Uncle Petros, he discovers, was once a celebrated mathematician, brilliant and foolhardy enough to stake everything on solving a problem that had defied all attempts at proof for nearly three centuries - Goldbach's Conjecture. His quest brings him into contact with some of the century's greatest mathematicians, including the Indian prodigy Ramanujan and the young Alan Turing. But his struggle is lonely and single-minded, and by the end it has apparently destroyed his life. Until that is a final encounter with his nephew opens up to Petros, once more, the deep mysterious beauty of mathematics. Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture is an inspiring novel of intellectual adventure, proud genius, the exhilaration of pure mathematics - and the rivalry and antagonism which torment those who pursue impossible goals.

Problem-Solving and Selected Topics in Number Theory

In the Spirit of the Mathematical Olympiads

Author: Michael Th. Rassias

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 1441904956

Category: Mathematics

Page: 324

View: 4405

The book provides a self-contained introduction to classical Number Theory. All the proofs of the individual theorems and the solutions of the exercises are being presented step by step. Some historical remarks are also presented. The book will be directed to advanced undergraduate, beginning graduate students as well as to students who prepare for mathematical competitions (ex. Mathematical Olympiads and Putnam Mathematical competition).

Riemann's Zeta Function

Author: Harold M. Edwards

Publisher: Courier Corporation

ISBN: 9780486417400

Category: Mathematics

Page: 315

View: 655

Superb high-level study of one of the most influential classics in mathematics examines landmark 1859 publication entitled “On the Number of Primes Less Than a Given Magnitude,” and traces developments in theory inspired by it. Topics include Riemann's main formula, the prime number theorem, the Riemann-Siegel formula, large-scale computations, Fourier analysis, and other related topics. English translation of Riemann's original document appears in the Appendix.

Birth of a Theorem

A Mathematical Adventure

Author: Cédric Villani

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 0374710236

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 272

View: 6193

In 2010, French mathematician Cédric Villani received the Fields Medal, the most coveted prize in mathematics, in recognition of a proof which he devised with his close collaborator Clément Mouhot to explain one of the most surprising theories in classical physics. Birth of a Theorem is Villani's own account of the years leading up to the award. It invites readers inside the mind of a great mathematician as he wrestles with the most important work of his career. But you don't have to understand nonlinear Landau damping to love Birth of a Theorem. It doesn't simplify or overexplain; rather, it invites readers into collaboration. Villani's diaries, emails, and musings enmesh you in the process of discovery. You join him in unproductive lulls and late-night breakthroughs. You're privy to the dining-hall conversations at the world's greatest research institutions. Villani shares his favorite songs, his love of manga, and the imaginative stories he tells his children. In mathematics, as in any creative work, it is the thinker's whole life that propels discovery—and with Birth of a Theorem, Cédric Villani welcomes you into his.

A Brief History of Infinity

The Quest to Think the Unthinkable

Author: Brian Clegg

Publisher: Robinson

ISBN: 1472107640

Category: Mathematics

Page: 160

View: 9143

'Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.' Douglas Adams, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy We human beings have trouble with infinity - yet infinity is a surprisingly human subject. Philosophers and mathematicians have gone mad contemplating its nature and complexity - yet it is a concept routinely used by schoolchildren. Exploring the infinite is a journey into paradox. Here is a quantity that turns arithmetic on its head, making it feasible that 1 = 0. Here is a concept that enables us to cram as many extra guests as we like into an already full hotel. Most bizarrely of all, it is quite easy to show that there must be something bigger than infinity - when it surely should be the biggest thing that could possibly be. Brian Clegg takes us on a fascinating tour of that borderland between the extremely large and the ultimate that takes us from Archimedes, counting the grains of sand that would fill the universe, to the latest theories on the physical reality of the infinite. Full of unexpected delights, whether St Augustine contemplating the nature of creation, Newton and Leibniz battling over ownership of calculus, or Cantor struggling to publicise his vision of the transfinite, infinity's fascination is in the way it brings together the everyday and the extraordinary, prosaic daily life and the esoteric. Whether your interest in infinity is mathematical, philosophical, spiritual or just plain curious, this accessible book offers a stimulating and entertaining read.

Fermat’s Last Theorem

Author: Simon Singh

Publisher: HarperCollins UK

ISBN: 0007381999

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 649

‘I have a truly marvellous demonstration of this proposition which this margin is too narrow to contain.’

Journey through genius

the great theorems of mathematics

Author: William Dunham



Category: Mathematics

Page: 300

View: 485

A rare combination of the historical, biographical, and mathematicalgenius, this book is a fascinating introduction to a neglected field of human creativity. Dunham places mathematical theorem, along with masterpieces of art, music, and literature and gives them the attention they deserve.

Men of Mathematics

Author: E.T. Bell

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1476784256

Category: Mathematics

Page: 608

View: 2590

From one of the greatest minds in contemporary mathematics, Professor E.T. Bell, comes a witty, accessible, and fascinating look at the beautiful craft and enthralling history of mathematics. Men of Mathematics provides a rich account of major mathematical milestones, from the geometry of the Greeks through Newton’s calculus, and on to the laws of probability, symbolic logic, and the fourth dimension. Bell breaks down this majestic history of ideas into a series of engrossing biographies of the great mathematicians who made progress possible—and who also led intriguing, complicated, and often surprisingly entertaining lives. Never pedantic or dense, Bell writes with clarity and simplicity to distill great mathematical concepts into their most understandable forms for the curious everyday reader. Anyone with an interest in math may learn from these rich lessons, an advanced degree or extensive research is never necessary.

The Man who Loved Only Numbers

The Story of Paul Erdös and the Search for Mathematical Truth

Author: Paul Hoffman

Publisher: Fourth Estate (GB)

ISBN: 9781857028294

Category: Mathematicians

Page: 301

View: 6030

The biography of a mathematical genius. Paul Erdos was the most prolific pure mathematician in history and, arguably, the strangest too. 'A mathematical genius of the first order, Paul Erdos was totally obsessed with his subject -- he thought and wrote mathematics for nineteen hours a day until he died. He travelled constantly, living out of a plastic bag and had no interest in food, sex, companionship, art -- all that is usually indispensible to a human life. Paul Hoffman, in this marvellous biography, gives us a vivid and strangely moving portrait of this singular creature, one that brings out not only Erdos's genius and his oddness, but his warmth and sense of fun, the joyfulness of his strange life.' Oliver Sacks For six decades Erdos had no job, no hobbies, no wife, no home; he never learnt to cook, do laundry, drive a car and died a virgin. Instead he travelled the world with his mother in tow, arriving at the doorstep of esteemed mathematicians declaring 'My brain is open'. He travelled until his death at 83, racing across four continents to prove as many theorems as possible, fuelled by a diet of espresso and amphetamines. With more than 1,500 papers written or co-written,

The Millennium Problems

The Seven Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Puzzles of Our Time

Author: Keith J. Devlin

Publisher: Granta Books

ISBN: 9781862077355

Category: Mathematical recreations

Page: 237

View: 6693

In 2000, the Clay Foundation of Cambridge, Massachusetts, announced a historic competition: Whoever could solve any of seven extraordinarily difficult mathematical problems, and have the solution acknowledged as correct by the experts, would receive $1million in prize money. They encompass many of the most fascinating areas of pure and applied mathematics, from topology and number theory to particle physics, cryptography, computing and even aircraft design. Keith Devlin describes here what the seven problems are, how they came about, and what they mean for mathematics and science. In the hands of Devlin, each Millennium Problem becomes a fascinating window onto the deepest questions in the field.