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Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics Paperback – 1 May 2004
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Bernhard Riemann was an underdog of sorts, a malnourished son of a parson who grew up to discover one of the greatest problems in mathematics. In Prime Obsession, John Derbyshire deals brilliantly with both Riemann's life and that problem, which was to find proof of the conjecture "all non-trivial zeros of the zeta function have real part one-half".
That statement may be nonsense to anyone but a mathematician but Derbyshire walks the reader through the decades of reasoning that led to the Riemann Hypothesis in a way that makes it perfectly clear. Riemann never proved the statement and it remains unsolved to this day.
Prime Obsession offers alternating chapters of step-by-step maths and a history of 19th-century European intellectual life, letting readers take a breather between chunks of well-written information. Derbyshire's style is accessible but not dumbed-down, thorough but not heavy-handed. This is among the best popular treatments of an obscure mathematical idea and allows readers to explore the theory without insisting on page after page of formulae.In 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who could prove the Riemann Hypothesis, but luminaries like David Hilbert, GH Hardy, Alan Turing, André Weil and Freeman Dyson have all tried before. Will the Riemann Hypothesis ever be proved? "One day we shall know," writes Derbyshire and he makes the effort seem very worthwhile. --Therese Littleton, Amazon.com --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Riemann and his colleagues come to life as real characters and not just adjectives for conjectures and theorems."
A math book that reads like a mystery novel. ("The Christian Science Monitor") Derbyshire's attempt to take nonmathematicians into this subject had me on the edge of my seat. ("Los Angeles Times") Riemann and his colleagues come to life as real characters and not just adjectives for conjectures and theorems. ("Scientific American")
"Derbyshire s attempt to take nonmathematicians into this subject had me on the edge of my seat." Los Angeles Times
"Riemann and his colleagues come to life as real characters and not just adjectives for conjectures and theorems." Scientific American
"Derbyshire's attempt to take nonmathematicians into this subject had me on the edge of my seat."--Los Angeles Times "Riemann and his colleagues come to life as real characters and not just adjectives for conjectures and theorems."--Scientific American
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The book i have has 422 pages of text, is printed on a fair size of font for those who require specs, and the paper is of reasonable quality too.
* Target audience, A level / H.N.D, Undergraduate,Graduate, Post Graduate?
This book is accessible when considering its quality of writing, but (i.m.h.o) this is better introductory read by second year mathematics students and above.
* What's the best topics then?
With some books it is a historical journey with what they have done added. This book gives a fair explanation of the maths and his life.The more accessible bits of the Riemann contribution to mathematical knowledge is very well explained. The critical theory of arithmetic that all numbers greater than one are a compound of prime numbers is very well explored too. Zeta function, the one of the many function forms, the prime number generating function and its simpler proofs is as well explained as i have seen in other small number of samples. The way the calculation of the number of primes up to any integer is engaging to read. The many forms of the Zeta function, sums and products equivalence, 'golden key' the supporting fundamental math in this topic is really nicely completed. The writer knows his limits as this is a popular science, math book. And this needs to be limited to not overwhelm the general reader. But the math student in particular will find this book supportive of their topics and when, importantly, you access videos from a very well known video sharing website, (you know the one) you may find this knowledge comprehension greatly accelerated. By using both this book and the videos at whichever level of academic difficulty you're at the moment, you may have a clearer time on this introductory level of the important math topic. Its encouraging me to have another look at further books too.
With reading this book, ands watching and rewatching the videos on the very well known website that cover these same areas, you may find this a real interest and enjoyable way to gather knowledge in this area. This limited math level dexterity is fair, comprehensible, and really clearly written. You need the online videos, (and a reasonable bb connection), and (this) book together then you're more likely to make progress. (i.m.h.o)
What gives the book its intense narrative drive is the nature of the puzzle: that the non-trivial zeros are all on the line with real part 1/2, along with the fact that it is very clearly explained. That the Riemann Hypothesis gives every sign of being on the point of solution after so many advances simply enhances the interest. It is not impossible that the final answer will be achieved by a reader of this book who does not have the mindset of everyone else who has been engaged with it for years.
I believe that some areas of this book could be more accessible yet. The graph and the plotting of points is still difficult. Maybe some software should be provided which shows other dimensions than the two in a book. This author has done a magnificent job and may yet do it better, or someone else. Once it falls within the range of far more minds one of them might just have the originality to make a new move and fresh insights which explain this at last.
I was enthralled by this book. Compared with other efforts, this one is a phenomenal achievement.
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