The Riemann Hypothesis: The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics

Overview

Since 1859, when the shy German mathematician Bernhard Riemann wrote an eight-page article giving a possible answer to a problem that had tormented mathematical minds for centuries, the world's greatest mathematicians have been fascinated, infuriated, and obsessed with proving the Riemann hypothesis. They speak of it in awed terms and consider it to be an even more difficult problem than Fermat's last theorem, which was finally proven by Andrew Wiles in 1995.

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Overview

Since 1859, when the shy German mathematician Bernhard Riemann wrote an eight-page article giving a possible answer to a problem that had tormented mathematical minds for centuries, the world's greatest mathematicians have been fascinated, infuriated, and obsessed with proving the Riemann hypothesis. They speak of it in awed terms and consider it to be an even more difficult problem than Fermat's last theorem, which was finally proven by Andrew Wiles in 1995.

In The Riemann Hypothesis, acclaimed author Karl Sabbagh interviews some of the world's finest mathematicians who have spent their lives working on the problem—and whose approaches to meeting the challenges thrown up by the hypothesis are as diverse as their personalities.

Wryly humorous, lively, accessible and comprehensive, The Riemann Hypothesis is a compelling exploration of the people who do math and the ideas that motivate them to the brink of obsession—and a profound meditation on the ultimate meaning of mathematics.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374529352
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/26/2004
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 940,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Sabbagh is the author of seven books, including A Rum Affair (FSG, 2000). He lives near Stratford-upon-Avon in England.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 3
1 Prime Time 13
2 Gorgeous stuff 30
3 New Numbers for Old 46
4 Indian Summer 63
5 "Very probably" 85
6 Proofs and Refutations 104
7 The Bieberbach Conjecture 116
8 In Search of Zeros 132
9 The Princeton Tea Party 148
10 A Driven Man 163
11 The Physics of Mathematics 177
12 A Laudable Aim 188
13 "No simple matter" 202
14 Taking a Critical Line 214
15 Abstract Delights 231
16 Discovered or Invented? 249
17 "What's it all about?" 263
Afterword to the Paperback Edition 276
Toolkits
1 Logarithms and Exponents 281
2 Equations 286
3 Infinite Series 290
4 The Euler Identity 294
5 Graphs in Math 299
6 Matrices and Eigenvalues 304
Appendix De Branges's Proof 313
Notes 321
Further Reading 329
The Mathematicians 331
Acknowledgments 333
Index 335
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