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number theory

Pariah moonshine
number theory

Mathematicians Find Moonshine Link for Pariah Symmetries

September 22, 2017

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

July 20, 2017

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

June 15, 2017

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

March 3, 2017

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

March 2, 2017

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

June 28, 2016

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


The Oracle of Arithmetic

June 28, 2016

At 28, Peter Scholze is uncovering deep connections between number theory and geometry.

The mathematician Ken Ono in his office at Emory University in Atlanta.

A Life Inspired by an Unexpected Genius

May 19, 2016

Greatness was always expected of Ken Ono. But as he struggled with his parents’ expectations, he found solace and inspiration in the life of two-time college dropout — and mathematical genius — Srinivasa Ramanujan, the subject of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity.


Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions

March 30, 2016

The Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24.