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number theory

520px photo of Robert Langlands
Abstractions blog

Robert Langlands, Mathematical Visionary, Wins the Abel Prize

Generations of researchers have pursued his “Langlands program,” which seeks to create a grand unified theory of mathematics.

Jennifer Balakrishnan and Sachi Hashimoto, plotted using SageMath
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Crack the Cursed Curve

A famously difficult mathematical problem resisted solution for over 40 years. Mathematicians have finally resolved it by following an intuition that links number theory to physics.

Minhyong Kim in front of a whiteboard
number theory

Secret Link Uncovered Between Pure Math and Physics

An eminent mathematician reveals that his advances in the study of millennia-old mathematical questions owe to concepts derived from physics.

Pariah moonshine
number theory

Mathematicians Find Moonshine Link for Pariah Symmetries

A type of symmetry so unusual that it was called a “pariah” turns out to have deep connections to number theory.

Kaisa Matomäki

Kaisa Matomäki Dreams of Primes

Kaisa Matomäki has proved that properties of prime numbers over long intervals hold over short intervals as well. The techniques she uses have transformed the study of these elusive numbers.

Yitang Zhang
Thinking Places

Yitang Zhang’s Santa Barbara Beach Walk

An obscure number theorist who became an overnight sensation with a major proof about the gaps between prime numbers now finds quiet inspiration walking along the Pacific Coast.

Abstractions blog

The Almost-Proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem

19th-century mathematicians thought the “roots of unity” were the key to solving Fermat’s Last Theorem. Then they discovered a fatal flaw.

Colorful illustration of 5 plants with their roots exposed. Each plant forms the shape of a number,
number theory

New Number Systems Seek Their Lost Primes

For centuries, mathematicians tried to solve problems by adding new values to the usual numbers. Now they’re investigating the unintended consequences of that tinkering.

Abstractions blog

Handicapping the 2018 Fields Medal

Peter Scholze is a favorite to win one of the highest honors in mathematics for his contributions in number theory and geometry.