The Story of Maths - The Language of the Universe

Nature and its laws seem to be governed by patterns which can be described mathematically, and human beings have been hard at work trying to make sense of such patterns for a very long time.

In this first episode of the documentary series The Story of Maths, Marcus du Sautoy (who recently succeeded Richard Dawkins as the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University), traces the history of math, from its inception in Egypt as the solution to practical problems having to do with land distribution and taxation, to the development of numeric placeholders in ancient Babylon, to the culmination of mathematics into an analytic and logical system in the hands of the Greeks. The devil, of course, is in the details, and the details are exquisitely fascinating, as you are about to find out.

Related videos:

The Story of 1, with Terry Jones from Monty Python

A water-tight proof of the Pythagorean Theorem

Carl Sagan on the pre-socratics and on Plato's influence on Kepler

The Genius of Archimedes

The hilarious Tragedy of Being Zero
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