Riemann hypothesis

conjecture in mathematics linked to the repartition of prime numbers

In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis is an open problem in the field of number theory. It is a conjecture that the Riemann zeta function has its zeros only at the negative even integers and complex numbers with real part 1/2.

Quotes edit

  • The result has caught the imagination of most mathematicians because it is so unexpected, connecting two seemingly unrelated areas in mathematics; namely, number theory, which is the study of the discrete, and complex analysis, which deals with continuous processes.
  • I believe that the vast majority of statements about the integers are totally and permanently beyond proof in any reasonable system. Here I am using proof in the sense that mathematicians use that word. Can statistical evidence be regarded as proof ? I would like to have an open mind, and say ‘Why not?’. If the first ten billion zeros of the zeta function lie on the line whose real part is 1/2, what conclusion shall we draw? I feel incompetent even to speculate on how future generations will regard numerical evidence of this kind.
    • Paul Cohen: (2005). "Skolem and pessimism about proof in mathematics". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 363 (1835): 2407–2418. ISSN 1364-503X. DOI:10.1098/rsta.2005.1661. (quote from p. 2418)
  • The Riemann hypothesis is, and will hopefully remain for a long time, a great motivation to uncover and explore new parts of the mathematical world. After reviewing its impact on the development of algebraic geometry we discuss three strategies, working concretely at the level of the explicit formulas. The first strategy is “analytic” and is based on Riemannian spaces and Selberg’s work on the trace formula and its comparison with the explicit formulas. The second is based on algebraic geometry and the Riemann-Roch theorem. We establish a framework in which one can transpose many of the ingredients of the Weil proof as reformulated by Mattuck, Tate and Grothendieck. This framework is elaborate and involves noncommutative geometry, Grothendieck toposes and tropical geometry. We point out the remaining difficulties and show that RH gives a strong motivation to develop algebraic geometry in the emerging world of characteristic one. Finally we briefly discuss a third strategy based on the development of a suitable “Weil cohomology”, the role of Segal’s Γ-rings and of topological cyclic homology as a model for “absolute algebra” and as a cohomological tool.
  • Hilbert, in his 1900 address to the Paris International Congress of Mathematicians, listed the Riemann Hypothesis as one of his 23 problems for mathematicians of the twentieth century to work on. Now we find it is up to twenty-first century mathematicians! The Riemann Hypothesis (RH) has been around for more than 140 years, and yet now is arguably the most exciting time in its history to be working on RH. Recent years have seen an explosion of research stemming from the confluence of several areas of mathematics and physics.
  • At the beginning of the new millennium the most famous unsolved problem in complex analysis, if not in all of mathematics, is to determine whether the Riemann hypothesis holds.
  • A substantial portion of Weil’s research was motivated by an effort to prove the Riemann hypothesis concerning the zeroes of the Riemann zeta function. He was continually looking for new ideas from other fields that he could bring to bear on a proof. He commented on this matter in a 1979 interview:... Asked what theorem he most wished he had proved, he responded, “In the past it sometimes occurred to me that if I could prove the Riemann hypothesis, which was formulated in 1859, I would keep it secret in order to be able to reveal it only on the occasion of its centenary in 1959. Since 1959, I have felt that I am quite far from it; I have gradually given up, not without regret.”
  • It tells us that they are very nicely distributed, about as evenly and as good as altogether possible. One cannot expect a completely even distribution, of course. But it tells us that at least in mathematics, certainly in number theory, we live in Leibniz’ “best possible of all worlds”, just as the good Candide in Voltaire’s Candide is told by his teacher Pangloss that he lives in the best of all possible worlds. Well, in number theory at least, one has the best relation possible among primes, even though we cannot prove it yet. It would give me great satisfaction to see a proof, because it would demonstrate that there are some things that are right in this world. There are so many other things that do not work as they should, but at least for the prime numbers, and of course also for the zeros of the zeta function, they are distributed as well as they could be.

The Music of the Primes edit

Marcus du Sautoy (31 May 2012). The Music of the Primes. HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 978-0-00-737587-5. 

  • The dependence of so many results on Riemann's challenge is why mathematicians refer to it as a hypothesis rather than a conjecture. The word 'hypothesis' has the much stronger connotation of a necessary assumption that a mathematician makes in order to build a theory. 'Conjecture', in contrast, represents simply a prediction of how mathematicians believe their world behaves. Many have had to accept their inability to solve Riemann's riddle and have simply adopted his prediction as a working hypothesis. If someone can turn the hypothesis into a theorem, all those unproven results would be validated.
    • p. 8
  • In the spring of 1997, Connes went to Princeton to explain his new ideas to the big guns: Bombieri, Selberg and Sarnak. Princeton was still the undisputed Mecca of the Riemann Hypothesis despite Paris's push to reclaim its dominance. Selberg had become godfather to the problem - nothing could pass muster before being vetted by a man who had spent half a century doing battle with the primes. Sarnak was the young gun whose rapier-like intellect would cut through anything that was found slightly wanting. He'd recently joined forces with Nick Katz, also at Princeton, one of the undisputed masters of the mathematics developed by Weil and Grothendieck. Together they had proved that the strange statistics of random drums that we believe describe the zeros in Riemann's landscape are definitely present in the landscapes considered by Weil and Grothendieck. Katz's eyes were particularly sharp, and little escaped his penetrating stare. It was Katz who, some years before, had found the mistake in Wiles's first erroneous proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. And finally there was Bombieri, sitting in state as the undisputed master of the Riemann Hypothesis. He had earned his Fields Medal for the most significant result to date about the error between the true number of primes and Gauss's guess - a proof of something mathematicians call the 'Riemann Hypothesis on average'. In the quiet of his office overlooking the woods that surround the Institute, Bombieri has been marshalling all his insights of previous years for a final push for the complete solution. Bombieri, like Katz, has a fine eye for detail. A keen philatelist, he once had the chance to purchase a very rare stamp to add to his collection. After scrutinising it carefully he discovered three flaws. He returned the stamp to the dealer, pointing out two of them. The third subtle flaw he kept to himself - in case he is offered an improved forgery at a future date. Any aspiring proof of the Riemann Hypothesis is subjected to an equally painstaking examination.
    • p. 184

See also edit

External links edit

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