Saturday, March 17, 2007

Music of the primes המוסיקה של המספרים הראשוניים

I read the "Music of the primes" over the weekend. See my review on Amazon:

קראתי את ספרו המרתק של מרכוס דה סוטוי, המוסיקה של המספרים הראשוניים. הסקירה ההסטורית על נושא במתמטיקה וחשיפה עלילתית של ההתמודדות של האנשים השונים, של החוקרים השונים והכול תוך כדי חשיפת האוירה והתרבות והחיים בתקופות שבהם פעלו הדמויות -- כל זה מרתק.

I'd describe the book first as a novel, then as a history book and will not describe it at all as a mathematics book. It does, nonetheless, links nicely the thread that links several important works in mathematics.

Too many metaphors for my taste. Also, too many repetitions on information that was already mentioned in previous pages.

The book gave me a nice overview of the last two centuries viewed through the linking thread "The Riemann Hypothesis", introduces some interesting problems, some of which I learned in my undergraduate studies, and some were new to me. I liked the list of references for "extra reading" given by the author.

Nice book, too much of a "novel" for my taste. I like my math formal and my history with more facts than metaphors, but I'm not sure that my taste is the kind that makes books like this sell... :-)

Bottom line: nice read. I read it in a weekend and the Hebrew version (with a very good, in my opinion, translation by Uriel Givon, who added some extra information in the footnotes).