David Hilbert was arguably the leading mathematician of his generation. He was among the few mathematicians who could reshape mathematics : he brought together an impressive technical power and a mastery of detail with a unique vision of where the subject was going and how it should get there. This was the unique combination of qualities which he brought to the setting of his famous 23 Problems. Few problems in mathematics have the status of those posed by David Hilbert in 1900. Mathematicians have made their reputations by solving just one such as Fermat's last theorem. Several remain unsolved, including the Riemann hypothesis, which has eluded all the great minds of the twentieth century. A hundred years on, it is timely to take a fresh look at the problems, the man who set them, and the reasons for their lasting impact on mathematics. In this fascinating book, Jeremy Gray examines what has made this the pre-eminent collection of problems in mathematics, what they tell us about what
Drives mathematics, and the nature of reputation, influence, and power in the world of mathematics. The book is written in a clear and lively manner and will appeal both to the general reader with an
interest in mathematics and to mathematicians themselves.