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prime numbers

Why proving the Riemann hypothesis matters

Prime numbers are the “building blocks for larger numbers”: The Riemann hypothesis is a statement about a mathematical curiosity known as the Riemann zeta function. That function is closely entwined with prime numbers — whole numbers that are evenly divisible only by 1 and themselves. Prime numbers are mysterious: They are scattered in an inscrutable pattern across the number line, making it difficult to predict where each prime number will fall (SN Online: 4/2/08). But if the Riemann zeta function meets a certain condition, Riemann realized, it would reveal secrets of the prime numbers, such as how many primes exist below a given number. That required condition is the Riemann hypothesis. It conjectures that certain zeros of the function — Read More ›

Prime numbers are not “nearly as scattershot” as previously thought

From researchers at Princeton: The seemingly random digits known as prime numbers are not nearly as scattershot as previously thought. A new analysis by Princeton University researchers has uncovered patterns in primes that are similar to those found in the positions of atoms inside certain crystal-like materials. The researchers found a surprising similarity between the sequence of primes over long stretches of the number line and the pattern that results from shining X-rays on a material to reveal the inner arrangement of its atoms. The analysis could lead to predicting primes with high accuracy, said the researchers. The study was published Sept. 5 in the Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment. “There is much more order in prime numbers than ever Read More ›