Cicadas of the genus Magicicada appear once every 7, 13, or 17 years. Is it just a coincidence that these are all prime numbers? How do twin primes differ from cousin primes, and what on earth (or in the mind of a mathematician) could be sexy about prime numbers? What did Albert Wilansky find so fascinating about his brother-in-law's phone number?
Mathematicians have been asking questions about prime numbers for more than twenty-five centuries, and every answer seems to generate a new rash of questions. In Prime Numbers: The Most Mysterious Figures in Math, you'll meet the world's most gifted mathematicians, from Pythagoras and Euclid to Fermat, Gauss, and Erd¿o¿s, and you'll discover a host of unique insights and inventive conjectures that have both enlarged our understanding and deepened the mystique of prime numbers. This comprehensive, A-to-Z guide covers everything you ever wanted to knowand much more that you never suspectedabout prime numbers, including: The unproven Riemann hypothesis and the power of the zeta function The "Primes is in P" algorithm The sieve of Eratosthenes of Cyrene Fermat and Fibonacci numbers The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search And much, much more...Continua