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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Unsolved Mathematical Problem
Prime Obsession, is a wonderful book based on the history and insight of the brilliant mathematician, Bernhard Riemann. As the title suggests, the main aim of the book is to give the reader a clear and understandable definition of what the Riemann Hypothesis actually is. To do this, Derbyshire has structured the book so the reader is given a chapter of mathematical tools,...
Published on 19 May 2003 by Andrew Hanna

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2.0 out of 5 stars The tiniest formulas spoil the book!
Some publishers have no concept of how to create an ebook! The formulas in this book have been included as pics and are the tiniest pics ever! Even though the kindle allows you to select a pic and magnify it, these pics are so small my fingers just struggle to select them in the first place. This has sooo irritated me it has spoiled my enjoyment of the book. Come on...
Published 2 months ago by In My Opinion


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book on Riemann, 19 Jan. 2010
By 
R. van der Zwaag (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
This is a book about Riemann, the world he lived in and the mathematics he did, especially concerning the famous Zeta Function. You will need secondary education mathematics to understand all of this book, but you will be surprised how much more this book explains, based on that. You will really understand Riemanns famous Hypothesis after reading this. The one downside is that sometimes, the writer is not totally clear in the steps he takes in his mathematical thinking, so you will have to invest some thought here and there, but it is very rewarding. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic achievement, 28 Feb. 2011
Fantastic.
The exposition tends to increase in terms of difficulty as you go through the book. Similarly, more and more difficult material is omitted with varying degrees of 'hand-waving', especially near the very end, but for a mathematical ignoramus like me to come away with some feel for the theorem is a real achievement, for which the author should receive full credit. If only he'd taught A-level maths at my school................................................
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting, easy to follow but loses it at the end, 27 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
This is a gripping account, and an admirable attempt to walk ordinary readers towards one of the most beautiful yet ferocious problems of mathematics today.

The author succeeds for most of the book, but loses it for the last few chapters which become a mess and seem rushed. A second edition is called for!

Still, one of the best accounts I have read of the RH.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into a major mathematical problem, 31 Oct. 2010
By 
M. F. Cayley (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
How are prime numbers distributed along the number line? In the 19th century a German mathematician called Riemann came up with a hypothesis about this which has fascinated mathematicians since, and remains still unproven. John Derbyshire has written a very readable account of the background to the hypothesis, and of attempts to prove it, interspersed with historical and biographical material about the mathematicians involved. The style is chatty, and the expositions of the (often intricate) maths are clear. (Those like me who haven't studied maths at university may find it hard to follow all the technical details in the later chapters, but should still comprehend enough to grasp the bigger picture.) It helps that at relevant junctures John Derbyshire often recaps briefly key points he's explained earlier, or directs the reader to a previous explanation.

This is a fascinating book, and a model for how to explain deep maths to ordinary mortals. Besides being a brilliant book on a major mathematical problem, it also gives a feel for the excitement of mathematical discovery and what makes mathematicians tick.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, 10 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
great read but does get a lot more difficult towards the end (last few chapters). Interesting nonetheless.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on a difficult subject., 31 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
I enjoy reading around maths and physics and found this book to be one of my favourites. I loved how the chapters alternated between Riemann's life and the maths of the Riemann Hypothesis. This book should be accessible to you as long as you have an understanding of basic Maths, A-level would be sufficient. I found all the mathematical concepts explained very well and managed to understanding everything until the last few chapters. Also a great insight into the Prime number theorem and its history.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 16 May 2015
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
I had no idea what his theorem was meant to prove at the end.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fermat or Riehmann?, 23 July 2013
By 
S. S. Allen "Simon" (Bexhill, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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As a child I chanced on a book that talked about Fermat's Last Theorem. I was only 10 or so and the link to Pythagoras was obvious. I set out to prove Fermat's last theorem by looking for a counter example. Not the best approach but I was only 10. It was a probelm though that was easy to understand and to express. Not so with Riehmann. Even understanding the probelm is hard as your general school maths is no use at all to you. Certainly it will help but the maths here is well out side the general school syllabus. So it was an enormous pleasure to read this gripping book with its mix of history and maths and to be led gently to the goal of understanding the problem. Highly recommended. Once you understand it all that is left is just to prove it. There is even a $1M prize for the person that does. It is a hard problem but the first step to proving it is understanding and even if you have no wish to do so you will enjoy the journey as the story unfolds.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
As good as I expected
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly communicated, 14 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics (Paperback)
This is a brilliantly written accessible yet engaging book.

The interleaving of chapters, one for history and story and one for math is a clever device that works very well, its no mean feat to have made such a profound topic so accessible. I am a Math graduate and I got a lot from the book, I also feel it would be fairly accessible to someone with little Math background.

I actually didn't take much to number theory when I was studying it, but this book has definitively brought the subject to life for me.
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