Riemann Hypothesis

In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, proposed by Bernhard Riemann (1859), is a conjecture that the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function all have real part 1/2. The name is also used for some closely related analogues, such as the Riemann hypothesis for curves over finite fields.

The Riemann hypothesis implies results about the distribution of prime numbers. Along with suitable generalizations, it is considered by some mathematicians to be the most important unresolved problem in pure mathematics (Bombieri 2000). The Riemann hypothesis, along with the Goldbach conjecture, is part of Hilbert's eighth problem in David Hilbert's list of 23 unsolved problems; it is also one of the Clay Mathematics Institute Millennium Prize Problems.

The Riemann zeta function ζ(s) is defined for all complex numbers s ≠ 1 with a simple pole at s = 1. It has zeros at the negative even integers (i.e. at s = −2, −4, −6, ...). These are called the trivial zeros. The Riemann hypothesis is concerned with the non-trivial zeros, and states that:

The real part of any non-trivial zero of the Riemann zeta function is 1/2.

Thus the non-trivial zeros should lie on the critical line, 1/2 + i t, where t is a real number and i is the imaginary unit.

There are several nontechnical books on the Riemann hypothesis, such as Derbyshire (2003), Rockmore (2005), Sabbagh (2003), du Sautoy (2003). The books Edwards (1974), Patterson (1988) and Borwein et al. (2008) give mathematical introductions, while Titchmarsh (1986), Ivić (1985) and Karatsuba & Voronin (1992) are advanced monographs.

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Famous quotes containing the word hypothesis:

Oversimplified, Mercier’s Hypothesis would run like this: “Wit is always absurd and true, humor absurd and untrue.”
Vivian Mercier (b. 1919)