Magic Numbers: Hannah Fry's Mysterious World of Maths

Dr. Hannah Fry takes us on a journey through the evolution of math, from its philosophical origins to its status as a universal language, and the foundation for all of science. We’ll meet the great thinkers whose breakthroughs have shaped the language of math, and with it our understanding of the world. This language is far from complete.
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Overview

Dr. Hannah Fry takes us on a journey through the evolution of math, from its philosophical origins to its status as a universal language, and the foundation for all of science. We’ll meet the great thinkers whose breakthroughs have shaped the language of math, and with it our understanding of the world. This language is far from complete.

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Numbers as God

01: Numbers as God

Hannah goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks to find out why they were so fascinated by the connection between beautiful music and math. The patterns our ancestors found in music are all around us, from the way a sunflower stores its seeds to the number of petals in a flower. Even the shapes of some of the smallest structures in nature seem to follow the rules of math.

57 min
Expanded Horizons

02: Expanded Horizons

Hannah travels to Germany on the trail of one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, Georg Cantor. He showed that infinity, far from being infinitely big, actually comes in different sizes. This increasingly weird world is feeling more and more like something we've invented, but if that's the case, why is math so uncannily good at predicting the world around us?

57 min
Weirder and Weirder

03: Weirder and Weirder

Hannah explores a paradox at the heart of modern math, discovered by Bertrand Russell, which undermines the very foundations of logic that all of math is built on. These flaws suggest that math isn't a true part of the universe but might just be a human language, fallible and imprecise. We may just have to accept that the world really is weirder than we thought.

58 min