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Carl Friedrich Gauss

How the Gaussian or normal distribution underpins modern medicine and enables marketing companies to deduce who you are from your supermaket loyalty card.

This ten part history of mathematics from Newton to the present day, reveals the personalities behind the calculations: the passions and rivalries of mathematicians struggling to get their ideas heard. Professor Marcus du Sautoy shows how these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world and proves that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science.

It was the German scientist and mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, who said mathematics was the Queen of Science. One of his many mathematical breakthroughs, the Gaussian or normal distribution, is the lifeblood of statistics. It underpins modern medicine and is a valuable tool in the fight against prejudice.

Producer: Anna Buckley.

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15 minutes