From the author of The Music of the Primes and Finding Moonshine comes a short, lively book on five mathematical problems that just refuse be solved – and on how many everyday problems can be solved by maths.
Every time we download a song from i-tunes, take a flight across the Atlantic or talk on our mobile phones, we are relying on great mathematical inventions. Maths may fail to provide answers to various of its own problems, but it can provide answers to problems that don't seem to be its own – how prime numbers are the key to Real Madrid's success, to secrets on the Internet and to the survival of insects in the forests of North America.
In The Num8er My5teries, Marcus du Sautoy explains how to fake a Jackson Pollock; how to work out whether or not the universe has a hole in the middle of it; how to make the world's roundest football. He shows us how to see shapes in four dimensions – and how maths makes you a better gambler. He tells us about the quest to predict the future – from the flight of asteroids to an impending storm, from bending a ball like Beckham to predicting population growth.
It's a book to dip in to; a book to challenge and puzzle – and a book that gives us answers.
Praise for ‘Finding Moonshine’
‘…told with the narrative flair and storyteller’s sense of detail…one of the few popular first hand accounts from the frontiers of modern mathematics.’ The Independent
‘Marcus Du Sautoy knows how to tell a story, and, even more important, how to make difficult ideas palatable and entertaining. He is never condescending and is always true to the spirit of his subject. He is a living refutation of Hardy's snobbish view that popularization is 'work for second rate minds’.' Sunday Telegraph
Praise for Marcus du Sautoy and ‘The Music of the Primes’:
'Du Sautoy is a contagious enthusiast, a populist with a staunch faith in the public's intelligence…he has uncovered a wealth of intriguing anecdotes that he has woven into a compelling narrative.' Observer
'He laces the ideas with history, anecdote and personalia – an entertaining mix that renders an austere subject palatable…valiant and ingenious…Even those with a mathematical allergy can enjoy du Sautoy's depictions of his cast of characters' The Times
'He brings hugely enjoyable writing, full of zest and passion, to the most fundamental questions in the pursuit of true knowledge.' Sunday Times
'A mesmerising journey into the world of mathematics and its mysteries.' Daily Mail
'A brilliant storyteller.' Independent
About the author
Marcus du Sautoy has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK's leading scientists, has written extensively for the Guardian, The Times and the Daily Telegraph and has appeared on Radio 4 on numerous occasions. In 2008 he was appointed to Oxford University’s prestigious professorship as the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science, a post previously held by Richard Dawkins.