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 Itunes, 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 Number Mysteries', 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.
'Marcus du Sautoy, Oxford university maths professor and holder of the Simonyi chair for the public understanding of science...digs up the unusual places where maths lurks in the real world...it's a hard task making the world of maths accessible and intriguing to the general public...Du Sautoy manages it well...covering everything from internet credit-card security to the maths behind making the roundest football, he builds a persuasive case for how relevant these mathematical mysteries are to our everyday lives' Sunday Times Praise for 'Finding Moonshine': 'If you don't experience a thrill of foreboding as du Sautoy ventures into this twilit territory, nothing in maths will be for you. Even if the thought of sitting down to a quintic equation makes you want to cry, it would still be hard to resist Moonshine's cocktail of anecdote, swashbuckling potted history and haphazard self-revelation. The moments of autobiographical intimacy bring the book to life...a joy.' Daily Telegraph 'Mesmerising...articulate, fluent, funny and personable, [du Sautoy] is also absolutely passionate about mathematics, with a burning desire to make the rest of us as excited as he is about its problems, its patterns and its beauty. He captures for us with brilliant vividness the excitement of the pursuit of a solution to a difficult problem.' Lisa Jardine, Sunday Times