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Marcus du Sautoy
The Music of the Primes


Prime numbers are the atoms of arithmetic - the hydrogen and oxygen of  the world of numbers. Despite their fundamental importance to mathematics, they represent one of the most tantalising enigmas in the pursuit of human knowledge. How can one predict when the next prime number will occur?

Is there a formula which could generate primes? These apparently simple questions have confounded mathematicians ever since the Greeks.

In 1859, the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann put forward an idea  - a hypothesis - which seemed to reveal a magical harmony at work in the numerical landscape. The promise that these eternal unchanging numbers would finally reveal their secret thrilled mathematicians around the world.

Yet Riemann never publicly provided a proof for his hypothesis and it  remains unsolved to this day.

Whoever cracks Riemann's hypothesis will not only earn themselves a place in history but also one million dollars thanks to a prize offered by a US businessman. In this multi-media presentation, mathematician Marcus du Sautoy tells the story behind the holy grail of mathematics and the ongoing quest to capture it.


Marcus du Sautoy is Professor of Mathematics at the University of  Oxford and a Fellow of All Souls College. He 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. In 2001 he won the prestigious Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society awarded every two years to reward the  best mathematical research made by a mathematician under 40. He writes for  the Times. Telegraph and the Guardian and is frequently asked for comment  on BBC Radio and television. He is a member of the Royal Society's Science and Society Committee which seeks to establish a dialogue between the public and the scientific community. His presentations on mathematics have played to  a wide range of udiences: from theatre directors to school children, from diplomats to bankers. His  book "The Music of the Primes" is  published by 4th Estate (August 2003). He plays trumpet and football and lives in north London with his wife, son and cat, Freddie Ljungberg.

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Marcus du Sautoy

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