The Millennium Problems by Keith J. Devlin

The Millennium Problems

In the hands of Keith Devlin, "the Math Guy" from NPR's "Weekend Edition," each Millennium Problem becomes a fascinating window onto the deepest and toughest questions in the field. For mathematicians, physicists, engineers, and everyone else with an interest in mathematics' cutting edge, The Millennium Problems is the definitive account of a subject that will have a very long shelf life.

Details The Millennium Problems

TitleThe Millennium Problems
Release DateMar 7th, 2005
PublisherGranta Books
GenreScience, Mathematics, Nonfiction, History

Reviews The Millennium Problems

  • Stephie Williams
    This book is an attempt to explain, at least where at all possible, the seven mathematical millennium problems, which the Clay Foundation in 2000 offered a one million dollar prize for the solving of each problem. They are in order of presentation in the book: The Riemann Hypothesis, Yangs-Mill Theory and the Mass Gap Hypothesis, The P vs. NP Problem, The Navier-Stokes Equation, The Poincare Conjecture, The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture, a...
  • Binit
    This book is an introduction to the 7 math problems designated by the Clay Mathematical Institute as "Millenium" problems and carry an award of 1 million dollars each. The problems are mathematically dense and I was able to follow in part perhaps that first four descriptions. The 5th and 6th were tough (I basically simply read through the 6th) and the 7th was completely impossible to understand. Though I think it is the nature of these problems a...
  • kaśyap
    I read this book long ago. This is probably as close as one can get to give a light overiview of the seven problems recognised by the clay institute for a million dollar prize. The author here takes up an impossible task of explaining these problems to a lay audience. Even if he didn't entirely succeed in this, this book can be used to spark someone's interest for deeper study. Worth the read at least for the chapters on Riemann hypothesis and th...
  • John
    A very inspirational book. Now I know what math problems I should start solving.
  • David
    At the beginning of the twentieth century, David Hilbert gave a talk in which he posed 23 problems in mathematics. The solutions -- or attempted solutions -- to these problems became a major part of the story of mathematics in the twentieth century. At the start of the twenty-first century, the Clay Math Institute posed seven problems to serve as a similar challenge for another century of mathematical research. Keith Devlin, a writer of popular m...
  • Dan
    A whirlwind tour of seven of the most important and difficult unsolved problems in mathematics today (actually, one of them, the Poincaré Conjecture, has been solved since the book was written).As an introduction, I think the book does a good job of imparting the general idea of each of the problems, even the Hodge Conjecture which in its full glory is well past my ability to comprehend without a few years of study. I recommend this book as a go...
  • Conrad
    Yeah, you just TRY explaining superalgebras to nonspecialists in a small paperback book! I give them two stars for effort, but overall this book's a wash.
  • Rod Innis
    I have included in my review a couple of quotes and my comments on them. Much of the book is very hard to understand for a non-mathematician. He does give some insight into his worldview as the following quotes demonstrate. Pages 179 & 180"In four dimensions the bottle would not have to pass through itself. To the person in the street, an object that exists in four-dimensional space doesn’t really exist of course, but this trivial objection doe...
  • Deepak Kumar
    It is a book that attempts to explain the 7 Millennium problems ( which can be called "extremely difficult unsolved mathematical problems for the Humankind") by using more words and less mathematics. Out of those 7 problems, fortunately, One (The Poincare Conjecture) has been solved by Grigori Perelman(who rejected the $1 million prize) in 2006. Did I said "$1 million"? Yes, apart from achieving the satisfaction of solving an "unsolved" math prob...
  • Steve Gross
    I don't think the author is a very good explainer.
  • andrew y
    The last two chapters shattered my delusion of being an amateur mathematician but the first five were pretty dope.
  • Ethan Gollings
    Simplistic enough to attract many but complex enough to inspire the passionate mathematician.
  • Robert
    Nice enjoyable survey.Even managed to make things The Birch and Swynerton-Dyer conjecture seem somewhat understandable.Not so much the Hodge conjecture though.
  • P
    Quite good summaries of complex mathematical problems. It was a pleasant read.
  • Bryan
    The Millennium Problems are seven problems in mathematics identified by the Clay Mathematics Institute as being particularly difficult and important. A one million dollar prize is offered for the solution of each problem. The awards have something of a precursor going back to 1900 when David Hilbert posed 23 problems of importance to mathematics. Almost all the Hilbert problems have been solved. Only one problem from Hilbert's list makes it onto ...
  • Dan Cohen
    Hmmm, Devlin takes on a tricky task in this book, as some of the problems described are so hard to describe (let alone solve!) that he admits that even he does not understand the problem. Having said that, he does an excellent job with some of the problems, such as the Riemann Hypothesis, and the introductory material in each chapter giving the mathematical (and physics) background is very good. He also provides biographical snippets for some of ...
  • Tony Alleven
    Well explained summary of the 7 unsolved millennium problems in mathematics. Each of these problems has a $1M prize for solving. Good luck to anyone on the Hodge Conjecture.
  • J.
    You have to appreciate Devlin's gumption in attempting to explain the hardest problems in the mathematical world to regular joes and janes, and he does a pretty good job. But there's no getting around the fact that he pretty much punts on the last two. I mean, he *sort of* tries, but he pretty much tells the reader that it's too complicated to explain. I hoped for at least a little more attempt.
  • Sam Poole
    Devlin tries and for that he deserves Praise. The seven millennium problems are described as simply as possible, which is still too complicated for most folks (the last two chapters sent my head spinning and were the reason I took so long to finish this!). An interesting look at complex algebra and complex systems and a fun behind the scenes glance at the histories and culture of mathematicians. Try it out but be warned, it's a challenge.
  • Pedro
    Interesting read. A bit outdated if you read it in 2016 (as already one of the problems has been solved)but generally well written and complete. The author does a great job at simplifying a lot of the mathsand transmits pretty well the spirit of each problem. The book is not dense by any means and has a lot of background information regarding the history of each problem. I recommend it to anyone that is interested in math and math history.
  • Geoffrey Lee
    Not too much "meaningful" information is given on the subject. Also, the author makes an error when attempting to explain cohomology in the chapter on the Hodge conjecture (he has the definition for exact and closed differential forms switched).
  • Steven
    Some of the areas are fairly difficult to explain and I thought the author did a decent job providing some idea what these mathematical questions are about. Still, I thought he could have been more thorough with some of them, 3.5 stars.
  • Ayoub Makroz
    Clear explanation of the most sophisticated and important problems of modern mathematics. It focuses more on the importance and history of the problem, rather than the technical side. It gives also the implications of having a solution for every problem. Great Book !
  • Gwendolyn
    good but goes into too much detail...the diagrams are handy though. i would recommend to only read the first chapter and intro then if you want to read about a certain problem, to read that, rather than read it like a normal book.
  • Bradley Bartholomew
    An interesting review of the most difficult math problems we face today and why they are important. A good pace that starts with easy stuff and moves towards the impossible.
  • Steven
    All but the final two problems make good book fodder. The rest are just too arcane to make a nice story.
  • Marshaferz
    Ultimately I didn't get a whole lot of this, but I enjoyed trying. The writing is quite clear even though the subject matter isn't always...
  • Chris Kemp
    Interesting book for one who has an interest in, and a little knowledge of, math. Skip the last chapter and a half if you are not a professional mathematician.
  • Clark Lyons
    This book really explains each one of the millenium problems in a way that is easy to understand. It was very informative.
  • Shu Lindsey
    "It is by logic we prove, it is by intuition that we invent."--- Henri Poincaré