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The Story of Maths The Language of the Universe

   2008    Science
This four-part British television series outlines aspects of the history of mathematics. Written and presented by University of Oxford professor Marcus du Sautoy, it is a co-production between the Open University and the BBC. In the first episode, Marcus du Sautoy in Egypt uncovers use of a decimal system based on ten fingers of the hand and discovers that the way we tell the time is based on the Babylonian Base 60 number system. In Greece, he looks at the contributions of some of the giants of mathematics including Plato, Archimedes and Pythagoras, who is credited with beginning the transformation of mathematics from a counting tool into the analytical subject of today. A controversial figure, Pythagoras’ teachings were considered suspect and his followers seen as social outcasts and a little be strange and not in the norm. There is a legend going around that one of his followers, Hippasus, was drowned when he announced his discovery of irrational numbers. As well as his work on the properties of right angled triangles, Pythagoras developed another important theory after observing musical instruments. He discovered that the intervals between harmonious musical notes are always in whole number intervals.
Series: The Story of Maths

The Hunt for Artificial Intelligence

   2012    Technology
Marcus Du Sautoy wants to find out how close we are to creating machines that can think like us: robots or computers that have artificial intelligence. His journey takes him to a strange and bizarre world where AI is now taking shape. Marcus meets two robots who are developing their own private language, and attempts to communicate to them. He discovers how a super computer beat humans at one of the toughest quiz shows on the planet, Jeopardy". And finds out if machines can have creativity and intuition like us. Marcus is worried that if machines can think like us, then he will be out of business. But his conclusion is that AI machines may surprise us with their own distinct way of thinking.

The Code: Shapes

   2011    Science
Marcus du Sautoy uncovers the patterns that explain the shape of the world around us. Starting at the hexagonal columns of Northern Ireland's Giant's Causeway, he discovers the code underpinning the extraordinary order found in nature - from rock formations to honeycomb and from salt crystals to soap bubbles. Marcus also reveals the mysterious code that governs the apparent randomness of mountains, clouds and trees and explores how this not only could be the key to Jackson Pollock's success, but has also helped breathe life into hugely successful movie animations.

The Story of Maths To Infinity and Beyond

   2008    Science
In the fourth episode, Professor Marcus du Sautoy concludes his investigation into the history of mathematics with a look at some of the great unsolved problems that confronted mathematicians in the 20th century. After exploring Georg Cantor's work on infinity and Henri Poincare's work on chaos theory, he sees how mathematics was itself thrown into chaos by the discoveries of Kurt Godel and Paul Cohen, before completing his journey by considering some unsolved problems of maths today, including the Riemann Hypothesis.
Series: The Story of Maths

Precision the Measure of All Things

   2013    Science
Professor Marcus du Sautoy explores why we are driven to measure and quantify the world around us and why we have reduced the universe to just a handful of fundamental units of measurement. He tells the story of the metre and the second - how an astonishing journey across revolutionary France gave birth to the metre, and how scientists today are continuing to redefine the measurement of time and length, with extraordinary results.
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