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Prime Obsessionby John Derbyshire
Synopses & Reviews
In 1859, Bernhard Riemann, a little-known thirty-two year old mathematician, made a hypothesis while presenting a paper to the Berlin Academy titled “On the Number of Prime Numbers Less Than a Given Quantity.” Today, after 150 years of careful research and exhaustive study, the Riemann Hyphothesis remains unsolved, with a one-million-dollar prize earmarked for the first person to conquer it.
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.
Book News Annotation:
This is a paperbound reprint of a 2003 book (Joseph Henry Press), about which Book News wrote: Riemann's hypothesis for a general rule to determine how many prime numbers exist in a given quantity was first posed offhandedly to the Berlin Academy in 1859. Today, having been neither proved or disproved, it remains the "great white whale" of mathematics and a missing key to advances in code theory and atomic physics. Derbyshire introduces this captivating mathematical problem in alternating chapters of mathematical exposition (some college calculus required) and biography and history (for general readers interested in mathematics). Derbyshire, a mathematician and linguist by education, is the author of Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream (1996).
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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.
About the Author
John Derbyshire is a mathematician and linguist by education, a systems analyst by profession, and a celebrated writer in his spare time. His work appears frequently in National Review and The New Criterion. Born and raised in England, he has made his home in the United States for the past fifteen years.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Prime Number Theorem
Chapter 1: Card Trick
Chapter 2: The Soil, the Crop
Chapter 3: The Prime Number Theorem
Chapter 4: On the Shoulders of Giants
Chapter 5: Riemann's Zeta Function
Chapter 6: The Great Fusion
Chapter 7: The Golden Key, and an Improved Prime Number Theorem
Chapter 8: Not Altogether Unworthy
Chapter 9: Domain Stretching
Chapter 10: A Proof and a Turning Point
Part II: The Riemann Hypothesis
Chapter 11: Nine Zulu Queens Ruled China
Chapter 12: Hilbert's Eighth Problem
Chapter 13: The Argument Ant and the Value Ant
Chapter 14: In the Grip of an Obsession
Chapter 15: Big Oh and M
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