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Mathematician reveals 'simple' solution to a problem that has remained unsolved for 160 years

By Mirror | Published Mon, September 24th 2018 at 15:48, Updated September 24th 2018 at 15:54 GMT +3

Mathematician reveals 'simple' solution to a problem that has remained unsolved for 160 years

It baffled mathematicians for almost 160 years, but one expert has finally found a ‘simple’ solution to the Riemann hypothesis.

Professor Michael Atiyah, a renowned mathematician who spent most of his academic life at the University of Cambridge, revealed his solution at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum today.

The 90-year-old expert described the solution as ‘simple’, but said that he expects some scepticism from fellow mathematicians.

He said: “Nobody believes any proof of the Riemann hypothesis, let alone a proof by someone who’s 90.”

The Riemann hypothesis is based on prime numbers - those that can’t be divided by other numbers other than themselves and one.

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While there’s no precise method to predict when the next prime number will occur, Berhard Reimann realised that the distribution of these numbers is very similar to a function, called the Riemann Zeta Function:

ζ(s) = 1/1s + 1/2s + 1/3s + 1/4s + …. up to infinity

But while Riemann observed this in action, he wasn’t able to prove it.

If Professor Atiyah’s solution - which he promises to put into layman terms - proves to be correct, he’ll be eligible for a $1 million prize.

But beyond that, his proof could have serious implications beyond theoretical maths.

Much of today’s digital security relies on the random distribution of prime numbers - meaning a solution to the Riemann hypothesis could raise challenges for cybersecurity.


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