To Infinity and Beyond

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Episode 4 of 4

Duration: 1 hour

Marcus du Sautoy concludes his investigation into the history of mathematics with a look at some of the great unsolved problems that confronted mathematicians in the 20th century.

After exploring Georg Cantor's work on infinity and Henri Poincare's work on chaos theory, he looks at how mathematics was itself thrown into chaos by the discoveries of Kurt Godel, who showed that the unknowable is an integral part of maths, and Paul Cohen, who established that there were several different sorts of mathematics in which conflicting answers to the same question were possible.

He concludes his journey by considering the great unsolved problems of mathematics today, including the Riemann Hypothesis, a conjecture about the distribution of prime numbers. A million dollar prize and a place in the history books await anyone who can prove Riemann's theorem.

More episodes

See all episodes from The Story of Maths
  • take it further:

    Discover Marcus Du Sautoy's thoughts about the most important of all intellectual disciplines at the Open University.

    Visit The Story of Maths on Open2.net
  • Presenter story:

    Marcus Du Sautoy shares his experiences of exploring the fascinating tale of maths.

    Read about Marcus' journey of mathematical discovery at Open2.net
  • Clip: David Hilbert

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    Marcus Du Santoy discusses the influence of German mathematician David Hilbert on 20th century mathematics.

Credits

Presenter
Marcus du Sautoy
Producer
David Berry
Director
David Berry
Executive Producer
Kim Duke

Broadcasts

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