prime numbers


This post is related to an earlier randform post of Tim about encryption security.

I mentioned already the SETI@home project. Another mentionable project of academic crowdsourcing is the GIMPS where some weeks ago the sofar largest known prime number was found . It has 9,8 million digits so I am not going to paste it in here. However this event makes me like to recommend a site I since long wanted to recommend.

The site I am talking of is called “music of the primes”. The site gives an introduction to the mathematics of prime numbers and in particular on the Riemann Hypothesis. The site is a collaborative work of the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy and graphic designers from the Design Laboratory@Central Saint Martins under the project management/design of Shani Ram.

Among the mathematics-explanation-part the site hosts superb flash games and promotes Marcus’ book: The music of the primes and a primes toy which is a soundtoy for primes (unfortuantely I had problems here with flash).

Marcus book is aimed at an also-nonmathematical audience. It got a scathing critique in the Süddeutsche Zeitung by Ulrich Kühne:

…Wer je den Verführungen der Schundliteratur erlegen ist, ganze Nächte lang Krimis und billige Trivialromane verschlungen hat, wird von du Sautoy begeistert sein….

(…”Those, who succumb to the seductions of trivial literature, who devour detective stories and dime novels, will be sold on du Sautoy”…).

However the book got also a nice critique by Umberto Ecco.

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