Riemann Revisited

On Lieven Le Bruyn’s recommendation, I decided to read du Sautoy’s book The Music of the Primes. It is exceedingly enjoyable and informative (except for the physics glitches).

The anecdotes range from Gauss’s discovery of Ceres to Dyson’s fortuitous meeting with Montgomery. I particularly liked the suspenseful introduction based on Bombieri’s famous April Fool’s Joke of 1997, stating that the Riemann hypothesis had been proved by a young physicist. He wrote, “the physics corresponding to a near absolute zero ensemble of a mixture of anyons and morons with opposite spins.” Perhaps we should really name a particle the moron in honour of Bombieri’s great humour!

Update: Wow! Lieven has pointed me to this post about a possible disproof of the Riemann hypothesis. Or rather, a proof that it cannot be proved within set theory? That would be just AMAZING!!! Here is the paper in question. Must go check it out…


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    lieven said,

    Hi Kea,
    i think i prefer ‘Stalking the Riemann hypothesis’ to du Sautoy’s book (more info on the quantum-chaos part).
    Further, Im certain you have read the latest ArsMathematica post on the ‘disproof’ of the RH
    here is a link to it

  2. 2

    L. Riofrio said,

    Fascinating how Gauss helped discover Ceres.

  3. 3

    Kea said,

    Thanks, Lieven! Yes, Louise, it is very fascinating! For the reader: one of the orbit parameters that Gauss used was from the Titius-Bode rule for orbit radii, which was only discredited after Neptune was found to violate it. Later, it turned out that Pluto actually fits the rule, by occupying the spot that Neptune should have occupied. So this dubious law was actually in some sense responsible for predicting both Ceres and Pluto. Of course, with the Kuiper belt etc things get a lot messier … but it is amazing how well the law works!

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