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prime numbers

Illustration of lock with polynomials surrounding it
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Seal Back Door to Breaking RSA Encryption

Digital security depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers. A new proof shows why one method for breaking digital encryption won’t work.

Art for "In the Universe of Equations, Virtually All Are Prime"
number theory

In the Universe of Equations, Virtually All Are Prime

Equations, like numbers, cannot always be split into simpler elements.

Art for "The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology"
Multimedia

The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology

Quanta’s In Theory video series returns with an exploration of a mysterious mathematical pattern found throughout nature.

Crystal diffraction art for "A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern"
prime numbers

A Chemist Shines Light on a Surprising Prime Number Pattern

When a crystallographer treated prime numbers as a system of particles, the resulting diffraction pattern created a new view of existing conjectures in number theory.

Photo of Ziegler's chalkboard
Abstractions blog

The Infinite Primes and Museum Guard Proofs, Explained

A simple, step-by-step breakdown of two “perfect” math proofs.

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.

Snake
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘The Prime Rib Problem’

Pradeep Mutalik and Quanta readers explore an open question about prime numbers: What is the lowest valued, longest consecutive sequence of integers that are divisible by a set of prime numbers?

snake
insights puzzle

The Prime Rib Problem

Prime numbers are endlessly fascinating to number theorists and math enthusiasts. This month’s puzzle explores primes by cooking up a whimsical dish of grilled snake ribs.

Kaisa Matomäki
Q&A

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.