Prime Numbers
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 … This sequence of numbers goes on literally forever. Recently, a team of researchers in Missouri successfully calculated the highest prime number  it has 9.1 million digits. For nearly two and a half thousand years, since Euclid first described the prime numbers in his book Elements, mathematicians have struggled to write a rule to predict what comes next in the sequence. The Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler feared that it is “a mystery into which the human mind will never penetrate.” But others have been more hopeful… In the middle of the nineteenth century, the German mathematician Bernhard Riemann discovered a connection between prime numbers and a complex mathematical function called the ‘zeta function’. Ever since, mathematicians have laboured to prove the existence of this connection and reveal the rules behind the elusive sequence. What exactly are prime numbers and what secrets might they unlock about our understanding of atoms? What are the rules that may govern the prime sequence? And is it possible that the person who proves Riemann’s Hypothesis may bring about the collapse of the world financial system? With Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics and Fellow of Wadham College at the University of Oxford; Robin Wilson, Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University and Gresham Professor of Geometry; Jackie Stedall, Junior Research Fellow in the History of Mathematics at Queen’s College, Oxford.
→ Listen on BBC Sounds website
Guests
 Marcus du Sautoy
15 episodes
Professor of Mathematics and Fellow of Wadham College at the University of Oxford  Robin Wilson
2 episodes
Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University and Gresham Professor of Geometry  Jackie Stedall
5 episodes
Junior Research Fellow in the History of Mathematics at Queen's College, Oxford
Related episodes

Pi
2 Sep, 2004 510 Mathematics 
e
25 Sep, 2014 510 Mathematics 
Mathematics’ Unintended Consequences
11 Feb, 2010 510 Mathematics 
The Poincaré Conjecture
2 Nov, 2006 510 Mathematics 
Mathematics and Platonism
11 Jan, 2001 510 Mathematics 
Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems
9 Oct, 2008 510 Mathematics 
Maths and Storytelling
30 Sep, 1999 510 Mathematics 
Fermat’s Last Theorem
25 Oct, 2012 510 Mathematics 
Infinity
23 Oct, 2003 510 Mathematics 
Mathematics
6 May, 1999 510 Mathematics
Programme ID: p003hyf5
Episode page: bbc.co.uk/programmes/p003hyf5
Autocategory: 510 (Mathematics)
Hello (First sentence from this episode)
Hello. 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17.