Prime Obsession Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics In 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 Qu

  • Title: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
  • Author: John Derbyshire
  • ISBN: 9780452285255
  • Page: 475
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 Hypothesis remains unsolved, with a one million dollar prize earmarked for the first perIn 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 Hypothesis 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.

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      Published :2019-03-18T10:48:50+00:00

    One thought on “Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics”

    1. The best popular mathematics book I can recall reading. I had heard about the Riemann Hypothesis a zillion times and never understood what the fuss was about. After going through this book, it all made sense! Requires college-level math, but if you have that, can't recommend too highly. ______________________________An anecdote from Lambert's biography of Georges Lemaître which may amuse mathematicians. At one stage, young Lemaître was being supervised by the famous number theorist de Vallée- [...]

    2. You remember the smartest kid in your high school calculus class? Remember the math major in your college dorm, the one doing advanced physics with more Greek symbols than Roman numerals? Both brainiacs at the time, right? Well, the book Prime Obsession deals with mathematical concepts magnitudes of order more complex than those brainiacs could ever wish to comprehend. John Derbyshire describes the Riemann Hypothesis (RH) and the mathematical titans that have tried unsuccessfully to prove the hy [...]

    3. First of all, this is pretty well-researched, being a 150 year-long history and all. Also, while quite thorough about the math, it wasn't really that involved. Of course, like all attempts to give a popular account of complicated math, it tread too heavily while not penetrating deep enough. So I was a bit disappointed. I gave it five stars because despite this, it was a real page turner. The prose is light and clear, and the pace is good. Reminds me of James Gleick's Chaos and Genius, at least i [...]

    4. I read the book somewhere, i don't remember on whose laptop, but I was more than halfway through and the book made me feel really great. Its a very well written book. You need not to know much mathematics to start reading it, he teaches you along the way. And then he takes you from history to rigorous mathematics and that's awesome.Certainly its one of the books out there in world - to enlighten!

    5. Prime Obsession is an engrossing and mind stretching journey to the heart of one of the most enduring and profound mysteries in mathematics - the Riemann Hypothesis:All non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part one-half.By the time you finish the book, that enigmatic statement along with the math behind it will make sense,you will have a deep understanding of the significance of TRH (namely how it is connected to the distribution of prime numbers) and you will have a feel for the ric [...]

    6. It's the Riemann hypothesis and the process of it. It can't be solved yet 30 January 2018.But the process of it is used various new mathematical method, they're exciting.

    7. This comparison will probably strike most as directly from left field, but Derbyshire reminds me a lot of Jon Krakauer. Topically, of course, they have nothing in common. But their style both depends heavily on the conspicuousness of the author in the narrative. This isn't necessarily because Krakauer and Derbyshire are narcissistic or self-absorbed, but that their writing is very self-conscious and they feel a continual impetus to advise the reader of where they stand on the issues they are pre [...]

    8. Stoic and engaging (with lots of history and sociology) attempt to take one all the way through (almost from first principles) to understanding the near-mythical Riemann Hypothesis (RH). The most revelatory aspect of this exercise, to me, was the fact that even as a practicing applied mathematician (engineer) my knowledge of academic mathematics ends somewhere in the 18th century. Even the mathematics of Riemann from the middle of the 19th c. is too abstract to explain with simple numerical exam [...]

    9. Although I find this author's political views repellent, I really enjoyed this book. He takes an extremely esoteric mathematical puzzle and shows how it emerges organically starting from the simple math we learned in high school. He also provides several excellent character sketches of famous mathematicians who made the key discoveries that allowed the Riemann Hypothesis to come into being in the first place. Most importantly, Derbyshire manages to convey the sense that the field mathematics is [...]

    10. Really nice mix of mathematical content and the historical story.Seemed somewhat as though an editor favouring a lower page count rushed a dump of all remaining explanation in the last couple of chapters - dramatic increase in pace. Toward the end there are some odd mixes of assumed knowledge too.

    11. As someone interested in (and fascinated with) the Riemann zeta function and the Riemann Hypothesis, I read a lot of books on the matter. Many are far too full of dense equations and seem geared to those with a math Ph.D. This one, however, can be understood by an undergraduate with a few math courses completed.He starts with the basics and slowly shows how the zeta function can be calculated with only prime numbers, shows how analytic continuation works, and then gets deeper into the non-trivia [...]

    12. Really raises the bar for pop-math books. My only complaint is that the educational level of the intended reader is somewhat bizarre. On the one hand, only the very minimum amount of calculus is provided to keep the concepts approachable. On the other hand, towards the end of the book Derbyshire writes tangentially about things like p-adic numbers which I didn't encounter until my senior-level number theory class. Part of me wishes he'd dropped the pretense of writing for a lay-audience and just [...]

    13. Wonderful book for those who are interested in the subject and the modern math in general. The author has made his task very challengeable - to explain high level abstract math to a layman almost without even using calculus. And i have to say he succeeded! On the top of knowing the subject he is great storyteller. I wish I would have such a teacher for the Calculus when i was at the University;-)It is not for everyone, but of you are seriously fascinated with math and have some knowledge in the [...]

    14. This may be my favorite nonfiction mathematics book. The author alternates between biographical information on the main players in the history of the Riemann Hypothesis, and mathematical development of the background necessary to understand the hypothesis and its importance to modern mathematics. He manages to do this without requiring any advanced mathematics from his readers -- even calculus is used only once. Amazing, and well-written to boot.

    15. Excellent book. I loved how the author alternated between describing the history which affected the Mathematicians (and therefore, the Mathematics) of the time. And, shepherding me through the actual Mathematics associated with the Riemann Hypothesis. Two slight issues. One, occasionally the author would make the steps between the derivations of proofs a little two far for me. (Requiring me to reach for paper and pencil.) And two, his somewhat annoying habit of saying “which I will discuss in [...]

    16. Having only some passing familiarity with Derbyshire's political writings, it came as a surprise that he is also an accomplished writer on mathematics. After reading about some of the Millennium Problems, I decided to learn more about the Riemann Hypothesis, and I could not have picked a better place to start. Derbyshire is skilled in presenting concepts from higher mathematics with an unusual clarity, and I also learned much about the lives of many notable mathematicians over the past two centu [...]

    17. Great mix of math and biography/history, even to the point of alternating chapters dedicated to each perspective. Something feels very symbolic in that pattern, as it showed up prominently in many mathematical sequences, with alternating positive and negative terms. Frankly, I wish the math portion made more sense to me, but alas, it progressed to the point that it was clearly out of my reach. It was tantalizing, though, all the way to the end, and I am tempted to tackle this again after I have [...]

    18. The book is quite fascinating ! But I suspect that maths presented in this book might be quite challenging for a general reader.But as the author asserted, if you cannot understand this book, you may rest assured that you will never understand the Riemann Hypothesis(it's what the book is all about) which states that the non-trivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function has the real part 'a half'.(It doesn't sound interesting, right ? Yes, it is.You'll see once you start reading it)

    19. Meraviglioso! Tra i migliori testi di matematica. Contiene elementi della storia dell’ipotesi di Riemann, aneddoti ma sopratutto molta matematica, non banale ma spiegata in modo impeccabile ed indispensabile per capire, almeno in parte, in cosa consiste la RH.

    20. This is a very lucid introductory book for the Reimann Hypothesis and maths (and its history) in general. I have enjoyed reading it even though most of the mathematical sections went right over my head.

    21. Much less accessible than Simon Singh's Fermat's Last Theorem, which I enjoyed immensely, still okay. I would have loved this book in my college days, when I was actually dealing with infinite series and some of the sequences refereed here.

    22. I disliked how the author said that if you don’t understand the Riemann Hypothesis after reading the book, you might never get it. I disagree. Trolling Euclid gave a really good and easy to understand explanation of the Riemann Hypothesis in less pages with a lot of math too found in this book. This book doesn’t really give a good explanation of it, instead it spreads it out over the entire book of what the Riemann Hypothesis is, i.e it leads you up to it. I disliked the alternating chapters [...]

    23. There are many difficult "questions" in the history of mathematics.But the "Riemann hypothesis" is the most difficult and important. From that involved in the Foundation of mathematics. In a Word, showing that law to the emergence of "Prime".Currently, the "Riemann hypothesis" is not yet proven. This book does, the best introduction to this issue.

    24. This was a terrific read. I got so much out of the book. Though I couldn't keep up with the technical stuff towards the ending, I enjoyed it.

    25. The book and the style of writing are maddening, especially coming from a professional in the field - as often as not one wishes one could do more than raise eyebrows in a civilised manner and simply bop the fellow one on head, hard. It is bad enough he downplays or speaks degradingly of his professional colleagues in general, although not anyone in particular. He also refuses to provide extremely simple proofs claiming "that way lies madness" thus depriving non professionals of an opportunity o [...]

    26. This is a really good book. It attempts to explain the Riemann Hypothesis ("RH") to anyone with only "high school" mathematical knowledge, or maybe a little bit more. It also contains a lot of historical material on the mathematicians involved and makes many delightful observations and asides on the way.The book includes a lot of mathematical reasoning. But the author avoids making it a mathematical text-book by simplifying, cheating, and joking his way along. This is a very refreshing and effec [...]

    27. There are famous math problems that are easy to explain but difficult to solve, such as the four-color map problem or Goldbach's Conjecture; the Riemann Hypothesis is unfortunately not such a problem. Prime Obsession is author John Derbyshire's attempt to explain the RH in simple terms and to illustrate its place and importance in the history of mathematics. It's not an easy task, and I think what Derbyshire has written is suited for a relatively narrow audience of people: those who took some an [...]

    28. Prime numbers are powerful things. If you multiply one or more primes together, you can create any other positive integer that's bigger than one. And we suspect that every even positive integer greater than 2 is the sum of two primes.But primes are strange as well - there doesn't appear to be any order to their appearance. The higher you count, the less often you run into them and you'll never stop seeing them. But can we tell when the next one will occur? In other words, is there some sort of p [...]

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