The Music of the Primes: Why an unsolved problem in mathematics matters


Fourth Estate, 2003

International bestseller describing the mathematics and history behind the greatest unsolved problem of mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesis. Sold over 100,000 copies, translated into 11 languages, and winner of two international prizes (The Peano Prize in Italy and The Sartorius Prize from Gottingen Academy of Science) for the best science book of the year and runner-up in the USA for the National Academies Communication Award.

“Written with incisive clarity, Marcus du Sautoy’s The Music of the Primes tells an enthralling story. The saga is also one of profoundly human passions and griefs, of rivalries and collaborative labours. In what are today somewhat tawdry times, the history of this great hunt is quite simply one of rare human dignity. Du Sautoy brings it to passionate life even for the layman. A book not to be put down.”
George Steiner’s Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement, December 5 2003.

“I was gripped by Marcus du Sautoy’s The Music of the Primes, an exploration of the mystery of prime numbers which has driven some mathematicians mad. I am innumerate, but this book is so well written, and tells its story so vividly and with such interesting human detail, that even I could follow much of it. I read every page, even those with lots of numbers on them.”
Margaret Drabble’s Book of the Year in the Guardian, December 6 2003.

“The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest Mystery in Mathematics by Marcus du Sautoy is my pick of a wonderful crop of popular science books this year. We have entered a new age of eloquent, informed scientific communicators, so that even the most armchair of enthusiasts can get to grips with those key areas of knowledge which shape the world around us.”
Lisa Jardine’s Book of the Year in the Times, December 6 2003.

It was also picked by the Economist as one of their books of the year.

“An amazing book! Hugely enjoyable. I could not put it down once I had started. Du Sautoy provides a stunning journey into the world of primes, a journey made human and even more enthralling because he presents the personalities and lives of some of history’s greatest mathematicians with the same vividness and brilliance as he presents their ideas.”
Oliver Sacks, Author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat.