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The Prime Number Conspiracy

The Biggest Ideas in Math from Quanta
Narrated by: Bob Souer
Length: 10 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

These stories from Quanta Magazine map the routes of mathematical exploration, showing listeners how cutting-edge research is done, while illuminating the productive tension between conjecture and proof, theory and intuition. Listeners of The Prime Number Conspiracy are headed on "breathtaking intellectual journeys to the bleeding edge of discovery strapped to the narrative rocket of humanity's never-ending pursuit of knowledge," says Quanta editor-in-chief Thomas Lin.

Quanta is the only popular publication that offers in-depth coverage of the latest breakthroughs in understanding our mathematical universe. It communicates mathematics by taking it seriously, wrestling with difficult concepts and clearly explaining them in a way that speaks to our innate curiosity about our world and ourselves. 

Listeners of this volume will learn that prime numbers have decided preferences about the final digits of the primes that immediately follow them (the "conspiracy" of the title); consider whether math is the universal language of nature (allowing for "a unified theory of randomness"); discover surprising solutions (including a pentagon tiling proof that solves a century-old math problem); ponder the limits of computation; measure infinity; and explore the eternal question: "Is mathematics good for you?"

©2018 The Simons Foundation, Inc. (P)2019 Tantor

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Better [more relevant] than you might expect.

I generally prefer down-to-earth, practical narratives when I choose my Audibles. Pure maths usually aren't on my list, particularly when one narrow topic is being advertised. But I had a feeling this Audible would be better than that, after having just finished Quanta's other Audible on topics in Physics, which is now at or near the top of my list of favorite Audibles. (Choose either one to listen to first, they don't overlap.)

I found the theme of this Audible to partly complement Love and Math, by Edward Frenkel, though I had hoped for more connections to be made.

Overall, I think this Audible is very well written, it flows well, it's entertaining, and it's narrated by one of the greatest narrators you could ever hope to have for this sort of topic. I didn't enjoy it as much as the Physics one by Quanta, but probably because I thought that one was phenomenal.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful