Latest Issue

Beautiful maths

Mathematicians dream of proving Riemann's Hypothesis.

By Karl Sabbagh   January 2002

Over the last century or so, maths became “modern.” It has reached new heights of abstraction and provided tools for the revolution in physics and cosmology that came to the public’s attention with Einstein. Modern mathematics now routinely handles concepts such as infinities of different magnitudes and has invented new numbers which lie nowhere on the line from minus infinity to plus infinity. It has devised closed shapes with finite areas but infinite perimeters. Techniques which at first seem to have no useful function turn out decades later to provide tools for use in the real world. But the essential…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect