The Great Unknown

Marcus du Sautoy

The Great Unknown



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The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science is an intriguing journey of discovery into the limits of science. According to the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, it is not possible for science alone to explain all of the phenomena that occur on our planet. Although many things can be explained through mathematical calculations or with quantum physics, the limitations of science mean that many others remain a mystery. History teaches us that the passing of time, accompanied by research, brings with it the opportunity for new discoveries to be made, and, with them, growth, as we continue our long journey, in search of knowledge and understanding of the world around us. 

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Analysis and key concepts


Science helps us understand many phenomena, but not everything can be explained by science


It is virtually impossible to predict what number will come up when you roll dice on a table


The sound of the cello introduces us to one of the cognitive challenges that man struggles to answer regarding continuous vision of the world


Mathematics is a road to truth: it is a way to explain the world through reasoning


Problems on the edge of knowledge, destined to remain unsolved




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Learn about the “unknowns” that Marcus du Sautoy deems unsolvable, and beyond the limits of human knowledge.
  • Discover how many people are seeking to find out things that cannot be proven by science. 
  • Acknowledge the limits of science, which is unable to explain all of the phenomena that surround us. 

Marcus du Sautoy is an English mathematician; he was born in London and is currently Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University. Highlights of his career include various awards, such as the Berwick Prize from the London Mathematical Society in 2001, and the Faraday Prize for excellence in communicating science to the public from the Royal Society in 2009. Marcus has written several books, among which are The Music of the Primes, Symmetry: A Journey into the Patterns of Nature and The Num8er My5teries. He writes for several British newspapers and has been a guest on many television and radio shows; in 2010, he received an OBE from the Queen for his services to science.

Publishing house:

Penguin Books