• A Brief History of Mathematics

  • Complete Series
  • By: Marcus du Sautoy
  • Narrated by: Marcus du Sautoy
  • Length: 2 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This 10-part history of mathematics 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. 

He explores the relationship between Newton and Leibniz, the men behind the calculus; looks at how the mathematics that Euler invented 200 years ago paved the way for the internet and discovers how Fourier transformed our understanding of heat, light and sound. 

In addition, he finds out how Galois’ mathematics describes the particles that make up our universe, how Gaussian distribution underpins modern medicine and how Riemann’s maths helped Einstein with his theory of relativity. 

Finally, he introduces Cantor, who discovered infinite numbers; Poincaré, whose work gave rise to chaos theory; G.H. Hardy, whose work inspired the millions of codes that help to keep the internet safe, and Nicolas Bourbaki, the mathematician who never was. 

The BBC Radio 4 series looking at the people who shaped modern mathematics, written and presented by Marcus du Sautoy.

©2020 Marcus du Sautoy (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about A Brief History of Mathematics

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not a book

this is the audio of a tv show in the UK, disjoint and hard to follow

3 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable, but….

An enjoyable introduction to the history of mathematics! Heavily focused though on European mathematicians. Mathematicians from other parts of the world: Asia, and Africa are largely ignored.

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Wonderful

I loved the topic have always loved math, quite I defeating to learn of the men that created it. Wish there was another series.

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A History... Starting with Calculus

I'm pleased to report, given the short length, this book does not cover the entire history of mathematics, but instead starts at the concepts which became calculus and moves forward chronologically from there. It covers a wide range of concepts and includes interesting stories of the mathematicians involved. The author is very expressive and easy to listen to. The examples are well explained and clear to understand even for those not initiated into the particular theory. There are numerous real-world connections presented of how the concepts are used in our day to day lives.

My one complaint is the repeated "title card" playing throughout. This is clearly due to the fact it was originally presented in another, episodic, format. This could have been removed in editing before being presented as a single audiobook without any loss of information and the individual episodes split into "Chapters" for those who wish easier navigation.

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Excellent!

This was to come by and get your period I truly enjoyed listening to the entire thing. Wish there was more to listen to.

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Nice survey for laymen

Great intro for those unfamiliar with the giants of modern mathematics and at least a hand-wave toward their works.

I’d hoped for more depth along with the personalities, but I suppose there are limits to what will appeal to a mass audience.

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Short, Captivating, and Inspiring

This was an absolutely fantastic series. It was short and yet extremely interesting and captivating. The history and insights into mathematics were also inspiring.

My only critique is the it should be divided into more chapters in Audible - a chapter for each episode would be easier to track in the Audible app.

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Superb

Excellent. Another wonderful read on the history of mathematics. Dr. du Sautoy is an excellent communicator.

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Sautoy is a Great Math Story Teller

I can spend hours listening to Dr. Marcus du Sautoy describe complex Math ideas, and I do. He has the knack of describe complex with everyday metaphors. Unfortunately, Sautoy is only looking at European mathematicians since Galileo. I am sure that other world cultures had important math breakthroughs during this time.

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  • Jack B.
  • 08-10-22

annoying music sting

overall a good readingnand book, but would be improved considerably if the frequent, repetitive and low quality music sting left over from the radio broadcast was removed. very jarring honestly.

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  • Yio
  • 01-24-22

Great stories

All stories included were very interesting and narrated beautifully. Succinctly told made strong points to take away. Thank you it was great!

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