10 episodes

Professor of Mathematics Marcus du Sautoy reveals the personalities behind the calculations and argues that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.

A Brief History of Mathematics BBC Radio 4 Extra

    • History
    • 4.6 • 184 Ratings

Professor of Mathematics Marcus du Sautoy reveals the personalities behind the calculations and argues that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.

    Nicolas Bourbaki

    Nicolas Bourbaki

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    Today, the mathematician that never was, Nicolas Bourbaki. A group of French mathematicians, working between the two world wars and writing under the pseudonym Nicolas Bourbaki transformed their discipline and paved the way for several mathematical breakthroughs in the 21st century.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 14 min
    Hardy and Ramanujan

    Hardy and Ramanujan

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    Today, G.H.Hardy, the mathematician who insisted he had never done anything useful. And yet his work on the "diabolical malice" inherent in prime numbers inspired the millions of codes that now help to keep the internet safe.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 14 min
    Henri Poincaré

    Henri Poincaré

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    Today Henri Poincaré, the man who proved there are certain problems that mathematics will never be able to answer: a mathematical insight that gave rise to chaos theory.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 14 min
    Georg Cantor

    Georg Cantor

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    Today, Georg Cantor, the mathematician who showed us how to carry on counting when the numbers run out. An insight into the nature of infinity that Roger Penrose believes helps to explain why the human brain will always be cleverer than artificial intelligence.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 14 min
    The Mathematicians Who Helped Einstein

    The Mathematicians Who Helped Einstein

    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    Today, the pioneering nineteenth century mathematicians who helped Albert Einstien with his maths: Jonas Bolyai, Nicolas Loachevski and Bernhard Riemann. Without the mathematics to describe curved space and multiple dimensions, the theory of relativity doesn't really work.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 13 min
    Carl Friedrich Gauss

    Carl Friedrich Gauss

    Marcus du Sautoy argues that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science: German mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gaus.
    This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.
    It was the German scientist and mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, who said mathematics was the Queen of Science. One of his many mathematical breakthroughs, the Gaussian or normal distribution, is the lifeblood of statistics. It underpins modern medicine and is a valuable tool in the fight against prejudice.
    Producer: Anna Buckley
    From 2010.

    • 13 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
184 Ratings

184 Ratings

Adisadel101 ,

Brief history of Mathematics

This brief history of mathematics was well done. However, I would have liked it a little bit longer to get into the minds of these great mathematical minds. My daughter was excited about all these mathematicians. Are we going to hear from you about other mathematicians.
Thank you very much indeed for the podcast.
Robert

Wordsworth73 ,

Excellent & entertaining

Great podcast on the history of mathematics. Brief and not at all comprehensive yet informative and entertaining nonetheless.

B&Y2020 ,

Unbalanced

If this podcast were called “A selection of biographies of European mathematicians” I would not hesitate to give it five stars. Unfortunately it’s actual title is a poor fit for its Euro centric content. Even in the episode of Indian prodigy Ramanujan, the spotlight is clearly on Hardy, not on Ramanujan. Really?!

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