From Dad’s Bookshelf: More On Prime Numbers


I’m in western Vermont until Wednesday morning, totally off the grid except for a 56K dialup connection which seems much slower.  I’m visiting my father and sister, and I found an item that follows right along with the prime number conversation we’ve been having here.


Since I’ve already finished the books I brought with me (Robert B. Parker’s School Days (not the best of the Spenser series) and Keith Olbermann’s The Worst Person In The World (and 202 Strong Contenders)), I checked out the bookshelves that cover a wall of Dad’s living room.  I found there a copy of John Derbyshire’s Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics.


Riemann was working a close relative of the problem we were working last week: can a formula be built to describe the quantity of prime numbers found between 1 and some number N?  The book is a fascinating discussion of both Riemann (the man’s life and his place in mathematics) and the problem itself, which has vexed mathematicians since Riemann first posed a hypothesis in a seminal 1859 paper.


I’m currently four chapters into this book, which the Christian Science Monitor describes as, “a math book that reads like a mystery novel.”  I’ll need to leave it here when I depart, so I’ll probably need to find a copy of my own before I can provide a full discussion, but based on the first 48 pages, I highly recommend this book.


More later in the week when I’m back in my own time zone..


     -wp

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s been awhile since I posted any non-technical news, and since the current non-technical news is going

  2. Anonymous says:

    Frequent readers of this space will recall that I’m in western Vermont visiting with family until the

  3. John Huschka says:

    Ward: Hope you are having a great time in the northeast, enjoying some respite. I will be up that way in a couple of weeks.