The Code: Revealing the secret

When I was 12 my maths teacher took me aside after one lesson and let me into a secret that changed my life forever.

Mathematics, it turned out, was more than just the long division we were practicing in the classroom.

He started to tell me fantastic stories that were written in the language of mathematics.

Marcus du Sautoy - The Code

He revealed to me a hidden code that explained why the world looks and behaves the way it does.

But not only that. By tapping into Nature's code he explained how we have been able to change our surroundings, build extraordinary cities and develop amazing technology that has resulted in the modern world we currently live in today.

Mathematics, he told me, is the code that makes sense of our universe.

In my new series for BBC Two called The Code, I hope to let everyone in on that secret code of mathematics that my teacher shared with me behind the back of the maths block.

The Code changed the way I see the world and I hope this series will let you see things through the eyes of a mathematician.

We travel to Pixar animation to reveal how the film-makers are using mathematics of fractal geometry to create the virtual worlds of films like Up and Cars.

We interview an ex-FBI agent who uses mathematical equations to locate serial killers.

We witness a plague of cicadas in Alabama which only happens every 13 years, a prime number which the cicadas cleverly used to avoid other species in the forest.

Marcus du Sautoy learns about the periodical cicada

And we discovered how the mathematics of pattern searching helps you to become the rock paper scissors world champion.

Hopefully after you've watched The Code you'll never look at mathematics or the world in the same way again.

But what makes this series so unique is that it is more than just a television programme.

Running alongside the programmes is an exciting mathematical treasure hunt full of engaging puzzles, addictive online games and clever conundrums that will take you on an exciting mathematical journey of discovery.

Called the Code Challenge it is an experience that combines the intrigue of solving a murder mystery with the addictive playfulness of Angry Birds.

For me, mathematics is not a spectator sport. The best way to appreciate and get excited by the power of this extraordinary subject is by immersing yourself actively in its world.

The Code Challenge is a fantastic way to play and explore the mathematical language of the universe.

And not only is it fun to play but there is a unique and valuable prize awaiting one talented player.

So join me on my journey and let me reveal to you what mathematics is really about.

Marcus du Sautoy is a professor of mathematics and the presenter of The Code.

The Code is on BBC Two and BBC HD on Wednesday, 27 July at 9pm.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

For episode guides from Marcus du Sautoy and clues to The Code Challenge, please visit The Code blog.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.


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