Mathematical mysteries have challenged humanity’s most powerful thinkers and inspired passionate, lifelong obsessions in search of answers. From the strangeness of prime numbers and the nature of infinity, to the turbulent flow of fluids and the geometry of hyperspace, mathematics is our most potent tool for revealing immutable truths. The event was a vibrant tour to the boundaries of the mathematical universe, and explore the deep puzzles that have been solved, the masterminds who powered the breakthroughs, and the towering challenges that have shaken the confidence of some of today’s most accomplished mathematicians—even as they enlist new ways to pursue mathematical truths.

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

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Original Program Date: June 3, 2011

MODERATOR: Robert Krulwich

PARTICIPANTS: Jonathan Borwein, Keith Devlin, Marcus du Sautoy, Simon Singh

Welcome to the Mathematical Universe. 00:13

Participant Introductions. 01:50

What about math got you interested in the subject? 04:07

Is math an instinct in humans? 10:20

When in history did the number come into existence? 15:22

Math was key to ancient survival. 20:27

1+1=0 Adding in binary. 25:59

Why are some people better at math than others? 26:55

Nontransitive dice game. 33:44

What’s the best story about math… Infinite primes? 38:05

Do all math problems have an answer? 44:33

The computer replacing the mathematician? 54:40

Can we mathematically understand the universe we are in without seeing it? 58:48

Perfect Rigour and Grigori Perelman solved the Poincare Conjecture 01:03:10

If you have determination math is easy. 01:09:09

Mathematics is hierarchical and you need to start from the beginning. 01:13:07

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