Friday 24 December 2021

The real part of every non-trivial zero of the Reimann zeta function is 1/2

 Or is it?

Otley, the town in which I live, has almost as many churches as it does pubs; and it has a lot of pubs. Because of this - the church bit not the pub bit - I and my fellow citizens regularly get pieces of paper put through our letterboxes informing us of 'the good news'. Indeed one minor upside of Covid is that the various congregations have stopped knocking on the door to tell me all about it in person. Anyway, today being Christmas Eve, I assumed that the home-printed sheet delivered this afternoon was something along those lines. But no, it was someone living relatively locally announcing to the world that they had proved the Reimann hypothesis, a conjecture which as I'm sure you all know dates from 1859 and is one of the most important unsolved problems in mathematics. Now that is good news.

A chap with a beard

After having a celebration cup of tea and mince pie I started to wonder why the door-to-door delivery had been felt necessary, so I re-read the note. It turns out that the writer was appealing for anyone with a modicum of mathematical knowledge to double check her workings prior to her claiming the large prize on offer, which from memory is US $1 million. Sadly, an unimpressive degree in Mathematical Sciences nearly half a century ago is far from sufficient for me to feel qualified to volunteer. Still, it is the season of goodwill to all men, so I wish her joy in her search, even if her chosen method of making it seems a tad unorthodox. If any reader feels better qualified than me to help, then let me know and I'll put you in touch. In any event, when this auspicious event makes the headlines, remember that you read it here first.

It just remains for me to wish you all Gut Yontiff and a happy, peaceful and, above all, healthy time over Christmas.


  1. A Merry Christmas to you and yours , Tony

  2. It's all Greek to me..
    btw I notice you are listening to 'A Bigger Bang': I was amazed to see it was released 16 years ago! As Charlie said, 5 years playin',20 years hangin' around. I remember thinking it quite good, but tellingly perhaps, have not played it in a while.
    A very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you!