A history of mathematics from the cutting-edge of present-day research, this book tells the story of the most idiosyncratic and most fundamental numbers in pure mathematics, the primes. When counting, primes (numbers only divisible by one and themselves) appear without any reason or rhythm. To a non-mathematician this may seem an oddity. To scientists the key to this seeming randomness, called the Riemann Hypothesis, is one of the most important enigma within mathematics. The Riemann Hypothesis has significance beyond maths - it is the basis for all internet and e-commerce security and has been named as one of the questions of the 21st century, with a reward of a million US dollars to the person who can crack it. It also has ramifications within quantum mechanics, chaos theory and the future of computing. At the heart of the hypothesis is the study of prime numbers, the fundamental building blocks of mathematics. In "The Music of the Primes", mathematician Matthew de Sautoy recounts the history of these elusive numbers, including the work of Euclid, Ramanujan, Odlyzko, the formation of RSA encryption, as well as reports first hand from the far reaches of today's research.
Marcus du Sautoy is currently a Research Fellow at the Royal Society and has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK's leading scientists; he is also a member of Dept of Pure Mathematics at Cambridge and a fellow of All Souls, Oxford. He has previously written in The Times and appeared on Radio 4 on numerous occasions.