What's up in

prime numbers

Abstractions blog

Physicists Attack Math’s $1,000,000 Question

Physicists are attempting to map the distribution of the prime numbers to the energy levels of a particular quantum system.

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.

number theory

Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy

A previously unnoticed property of prime numbers seems to violate a long-standing assumption about how they behave.

number theory

A Magical Answer to an 80-Year-Old Puzzle

Using crowd-sourced and traditional mathematics research, Terence Tao has devised a solution to a long-standing problem posed by the legendary Paul Erdős.

Q&A

After Prime Proof, an Unlikely Star Rises

Two years ago, Yitang Zhang was virtually unknown. Now his surprise solution to a major problem in number theory has catapulted him to mathematical stardom. Where does he go from here?

Mathematics

Prime Gap Grows After Decades-Long Lull

A year after tackling how close together prime number pairs can stay, mathematicians have now made the first major advance in 76 years in understanding how far apart primes can be.

number theory

Together and Alone, Closing the Prime Gap

Working on the centuries-old twin primes conjecture, two solitary researchers and a massive collaboration have made enormous advances over the last six months.

Yitang Zhang
Mathematics

Unheralded Mathematician Bridges the Prime Gap

A virtually unknown researcher has made a great advance in one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture.