Dave Gorman

Simon Singh's Numbers
  • Simon Singh's Numbers

    • Simon Singh

    • Simon Singh (Read by)

    • Dave Gorman (Read by)

    • Marcus du Sautoy (Read by)

    • Sylvia Nasar (Read by)

    • Paul Hoffman (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    Simon Singh takes a quirky look at some of the most important numbers in mathematics

    Physicist and popular science author Simon Singh explores the numbers and concepts that lie at the heart of some of the trickiest problems in mathematics, revealing their history, significance and unique qualities.

    Beginning with zero - which, amazingly, wasn't invented until 400 BC and then took thousands of years to catch on - he goes on to serve up a slice of pi, uncover the hidden beauty of the Golden Ratio, reveal the reality behind the imaginary number, and explain why some infinities are bigger than others...

    Are 7 shuffles sufficient to randomise a pack of cards? Are 4 colours enough to paint any map, so neighbouring countries have different colours? And could really big prime numbers help us to devise more secure encryption codes? Listen to these 15 programmes and find out...

    You'll also hear about G, the number that defines the universe; learn how game theory was used to boost profits for the Treasury when 3G phone licences were sold; and discover what makes 1729 - the first 'taxicab number' - so special. Whether you're a maths geek or simply curious about the weird and wonderful world of numbers, this lively, engaging series will surprise and delight.

    Production credits
    Presented by Simon Singh
    Produced by Adrian Washbourne

    With: Dave Gorman, Ian Stewart, John Barrow, Adam Spencer, Charles Seife, Marcus du Sautoy, Robin Wilson, Rob Eastaway, David Blatner, Ron Knott, Greg Chaitin, Ken Appel, Thomas Bass, Persi Diaconis, Dave Bayer, Karl Sabbagh, Thomas Hales, Ken Binmore, Sylvia Nasar, Robert Matthews, Julie Roskies, Eleanor Robson, Mark Nigrini, Julie Litman, Janna Levin, Marcus Chown, Duncan Watts, Paul Hoffman, Martin Rees, Robert Kanigel, Cristian Calude

    First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 11-15 March 2002 (Five Numbers), 27-31 October 2003 (Another Five Numbers), 23 August-20 September 2005 (A Further Five Numbers)

    ©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

'I'll be honest with you... I had a few concerns about hosting a show called Genius. Firstly, I didn't want anyone to hear the title and assume that my ego had spiralled out of control and that the show was supposed to be about me. Let me clear that one up from the start: I'm under no illusions... I know how stupid I am, and if ever I forget there are scars on my body to remind me. No, the show is about other people's genius and the format, like the host, is simple: each week I'm joined by a different celebrity guest, several members of the public pitch their ideas to us and the celeb in question declares whether or not the idea is the genuine article; a work of 24 carat genius. Which brings me to my second concern. Would there be enough Radio 4 listeners out there with ideas to share? I needn't have worried about that one; the show was trailed a few times on Radio 4 and pretty soon thousands of ideas were flooding in. Most of them were, I imagine, conceived in the pub; but a huge number of them definitely had the whiff of genius about them. If Thomas Edison was correct and genius really is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration I can tell you now that Radio 4 listeners are a very sweaty lot. I'm glad I put my concerns to one side and hosted the show, because in every episode there was at least one moment when the situation filled me with such childish glee that I wanted to pinch myself to make sure it was real. There's something faintly surreal about sitting on stage with Richard Madeley while an audience watches the two of you have an earnest conversation about breeding miniature elephants as pets (Come on Dave... think about it, this could really work!) and trying to work out exactly how this came to be your job! The conversations weren't just contained in the show either... they regularly continued in the bar afterwards. 'What would happen if we put giant spokey-dokeys on the Millennium Wheel?' 'Could you really get every pedestrian in Britain to step to the left?' 'You see, this is where a 99p coin would come in handy!' There's a fine line between genius and stupidity, and while I can't tell you which side of the line the show falls... I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed falling.' Dave Gorman, September 2006

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