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Sunday fun: Math genius (and Subway sandwich jockey) discovers new theory of prime numbers

From Wired:

On May 13, an obscure mathematician — one whose talents had gone so unrecognized that he had worked at a Subway restaurant to make ends meet — garnered worldwide attention and accolades from the mathematics community for settling a long-standing open question about prime numbers, those numbers divisible by only one and themselves. Yitang Zhang, a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, showed that even though primes get increasingly rare as you go further out along the number line, you will never stop finding pairs of primes separated by at most 70 million. His finding was the first time anyone had managed to put a finite bound on the gaps between prime numbers, representing a major leap toward proving the centuries-old twin primes conjecture, which posits that there are infinitely many pairs of primes separated by only two (such as 11 and 13).

Hat tip: The Battlefield

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2 Responses to Sunday fun: Math genius (and Subway sandwich jockey) discovers new theory of prime numbers

  1. From the article referred above
    =>Tao actively discourages young mathematicians from heading down such a path, which he has called “a particularly dangerous occupational hazard”
    => Hope that statement doesn’t deter talented mathematicians.

  2. OT: Comet ISON, if it survives trip around the sun, could bring spectacular sky show – Nov. 24, 2013
    Excerpt: As Comet ISON hurtles toward the sun, its million-year-long journey through our solar system may end with its violent death — or a spectacular sky show.
    On Thanksgiving, when the comet rounds the sun, professional and amateur astronomers alike will await ISON’s fate with bated breath. Its tail may get ripped off by a cloud of solar particles, or the sun’s brutal radiation and pressure may demolish it completely.
    But if ISON makes it out alive, stargazers say, it could provide a breathtaking show visible to the naked eye and possibly live up to the name “Comet of the Century,” as some astronomers have dubbed it.
    “On Friday, we’ll all be delighted to see its beautiful face as it then comes around the sun,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division. “Then between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it will fly over the North Pole — a very nice holiday comet.”
    ISON is a lone traveler originating from a giant population of comets at the very edge of the solar system.,,,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

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