Solution to $1m Riemann hypothesis just doesn't add up, say rival mathematicians

Solution to $1m Riemann hypothesis just doesn't add up, say rival mathematicians

Prime numbers are natural numbers (0, 1, 2, 3...) greater than 1 and which can not be formed by multiplying two smaller natural numbers.

The 90-year-old mathematician Michael Atiyah has presented what he referred to as a simple proof of the Riemann hypothesis, a problem which has eluded mathematicians for nearly 160 years.

The Riemann hypothesis is based on prime numbers - those that can't be divided by other numbers other than themselves and one.

He said: "Nobody believes any proof of the Riemann hypothesis, let alone a proof by someone who's 90". Riemann's formula works for the first 10 trillion solutions, said the institute, but not for every single potential prime number.

Riemann proposed a theory that can, in a way, shed light on that mystery; but he could not prove it, nor could all the brilliant minds that came after.

Michael Atiyah, a mathematician who has won several awards including the Fields Medal in 1966, spoke during the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, an event created to connect experts in fields such as science and math with the younger generation. In other words, you couldn't figure out when the next prime number occurs by knowing some pattern.

If you're confused already, you're supposed to be - this equation has baffled the mathematics world for over a century.

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This is extremely hard to discover as prime numbers are notoriously random distributed, as they have been regarded as such since their discovery.

Primes are useful for everything from computer encryption to the programming of super computers. "Nobody believes any proof of the Riemann hypothesis because it is so hard".

'Nobody has proved it, so why should anybody prove it now?

In his discussion today, Atiyha described a "simple proof" built upon a foundation from mathematicians John von Neumann and Friedrich Hizrebruch. "Unless, of course, you have a totally new idea", Atiyah said. Impressive, but that still means it's "unsolved", per the Clay Mathematics Institute, which gets into the mathematical nitty gritty.

A correct solution would earn its author a $1 million (£760,000) prize.

Atiyah's proof of the Riemann hypothesis seemed simplistic when juxtaposed with previous solutions.

'Lots of other top-rate mathematicians have almost but not quite managed to prove it over the years, only for a subtle flaw in the proof to become apparent'.

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