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Keith Devlin

The Millennium problems

To celebrate the coming of the new millennium, the Clay Mathematics Institute offered a $1,000,000 for the solution of each of seven mathematical problems. (If you fancy having a go at one of them, well the Poincaré conjecture has already been solved, but you might be interested in my thoughts on the P vs NP problem) In The Millennium Problems Keith Devlin gives an introduction to each of these problems. The book is written in a non-technical style without too much mathematics, and so is suitable for any reader who wants to get an idea of the nature of these seven problems.

My main criticism of the book is that the task Devlin has taken on is too much to fit into one book. Each chapter has a lot of introductory material, which doesn't leave much space for the description of the problem itself.. Most of the problems really need a book to themselves, such as those that have been written on the Riemann Hypothesis. For the last two chapters Devlin doesn't attempt to explain the maths leading up to the problem, he just tries to give the reader an overall feel for the problem, which in some ways is a more satisfactory way of using the space available.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0465017304
Salesrank: 473154
Weight:0.3 lbs
Published: 2003 Basic Books
Amazon price $13.33
Marketplace:New from $7.10:Used from $1.55
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 1862077355
Salesrank: 1331815
Weight:0.09 lbs
Published: 2005 Granta Books
Marketplace:New from £246.99:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0465017304
Salesrank: 418692
Weight:0.3 lbs
Published: 2003 Basic Books
Amazon price CDN$ 13.00
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 13.00:Used from CDN$ 3.34
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Product Description
In 2000, the Clay Foundation announced a historic competition: whoever could solve any of seven extraordinarily difficult mathematical problems, and have the solution acknowledged as correct by the experts, would receive 1 million in prize money. There was some precedent for doing this: In 1900 the mathematician David Hilbert proposed twenty-three problems that set much of the agenda for mathematics in the twentieth century. The Millennium Problems--chosen by a committee of the leading mathematicians in the world--are likely to acquire similar stature, and their solution (or lack of it) is likely to play a strong role in determining the course of mathematics in the twenty-first century. Keith Devlin, renowned expositor of mathematics and one of the authors of the Clay Institute's official description of the problems, here provides the definitive account for the mathematically interested reader.