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The Million Dollar Question:

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Posted by Mark on January 26, 2004 17:26:18 UTC

Right now there is a bounty of $1 million going to whoever can solve this celebrated question in mathematics: "Is the Riemann hypothesis true?".

Check out this "strange link" between number theory and the universe. It's pretty cool

It almost hints at a fundamental equation to physics, whereby the distribution of solutions to zeta(s) mimics some quantum spectrum.

On philosophical grounds, this would imply that somehow a concept as abstract as prime numbers is physically manifested in a spectrum of allowed energy states of some as of yet, unknown quantum system. Numbers and physics are intimately entwined.

It's also pretty interesting that prime numbers are fundamental to the world's standard form of Internet encryption. Called RSA, it's a "public key" encryption method used to protect credit card numbers and e-business. Even the government uses RSA encryption to communicate from say, the Pentagon to the White House. Were someone to solve the Riemann hypothesis, not only will key questions be answered about prime numbers, but it could spell the downfall of RSA and hence global e-transactions. That's why AT&T and other communications giants, Bank of America, our government, etc., pour $ billions into research on this area of interest.

There's something deep and mysterious about zeta(s) (and the Riemann hypothesis).

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