The summer holidays have given me a chance to spend some time tackling my reading list. I have long been fascinated by the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic and the quest to find order in the primes, so was excited to get the chance to read Marcus du Sautoy’s The Music of the Primes.
The book tracks the historic journey of the mathematical discoveries that have taken us closer to understanding the sequence of the primes including Euclid’s proof of the infinite number of primes, Gauss’ discovery of the logarithm link to the distribution of primes, Euler’s logarithmic integral to improve Gauss’ work and The Riemann Hypothesis.
Marcus does an excellent job, as always, on breaking down the conceptual ideas to their bare bones and making analogies and anecdotes that laymen would understand. There are quite advanced maths concepts in the book such as complex numbers and the Zeta function which I’m glad to say he doesn’t shy away from, but does present them with clarity and quite often, humour.
I found a lecture that Marcus gave a few years ago about the Music of the Primes which gives a nice introduction to the content of the book. It does skip over some of the more challenging maths aspects, like the mapping of the Zeta function, but rest assured these are covered in the book.
The Music of the Primes is an intelligent journey through the historic attempts to tame the primes that is certainly worthy of some bedtime reading.
The book is available for purchase from Amazon here.