Latest Issue of Science News


News

Prime Finding: Mathematicians mind the gap

A mathematical duo has made a surprising advance in understanding the distribution of prime numbers, those whole numbers divisible only by themselves and 1. The new result is the most exciting work on prime numbers in more than 3 decades, says mathematician Hugh L. Montgomery of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

However, he cautions that experts are still checking the details of the proof.

Among small numbers, primes are common. Of the first 10 numbers, for instance, 4 of them–2, 3, 5, and 7–are prime. But among larger numbers, primes thin out. Around a trillion, for instance, only about 1 in every 28 numbers is prime.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.