From the author of `The Music of the Primes' and `Finding Moonshine' comes a short, lively book on five mathematical problems that just refuse be solved - and on how many everyday problems can be solved by maths.
Every time we download a song from Itunes, take a flight across the Atlantic or talk on our mobile phones, we are relying on great mathematical inventions. Maths may fail to provide answers to various of its own problems, but it can provide answers to problems that don't seem to be its own - how prime numbers are the key to Real Madrid's success, to secrets on the Internet and to the survival of insects in the forests of North America.
In `The Number Mysteries', Marcus du Sautoy explains how to fake a Jackson Pollock; how to work out whether or not the universe has a hole in the middle of it; how to make the world's roundest football. He shows us how to see shapes in four dimensions - and how maths makes you a better gambler. He tells us about the quest to predict the future - from the flight of asteroids to an impending storm, from bending a ball like Beckham to predicting population growth.
It's a book to dip in to; a book to challenge and puzzle - and a book that gives us answers.
Marcus du Sautoy is currently a Research Fellow at the Royal Society and has been named by the Independent on Sunday as one of the UK's leading scientists; he is also a member of Dept of Pure Mathematics at Cambridge and a fellow of All Souls, Oxford. He writes for The Times and The Guardian, presents Mind Games on BBC4, was chosen as one of Esquire's 100 most influential men under 40, and gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2006. He is the author of `The Music of the Primes' and `Finding Moonshine'