by H. PeterAleff |

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Regardless how much greater the number world may be than anything we can imagine, its laws apply to all its regions (with a few exceptions for its founding units up to 3 or 4, just as the physical laws for the starry world may not all apply to the first 10 The prime-hunters discovered the above record holder prime with the same formula that had produced most of the runner-ups, and that allowed them to prove these numbers are prime although they far exceed anyone’s ability to find their factors if they had any. That formula was known since antiquity . These equal the sum of their factors and thereby greatly impressed number mystics of the Pythagorean persuasion. The primes obtained with that formula are currently named after the monk Marin Mersenne (1588-1648) who discussed its link with primes. The participants in the prime race are confident they can find more such primes because they know that even their biggest catches, immense beyond any imaginable human grasp, are infinitesimally tiny when compared with the much bigger primes that lay sprinkled along the number line into infinity. And mathematicians have proved that even those numbers far, far, far beyond their reach still all obey the same laws -- a feat no other lawmakers have ever achieved. Number theorists have shown that primes obey statistical laws at least as stringent as those of the quantum-level equations for the physical world, and they hope to refine the resolution of their methods to the point of discerning a pattern. Beginning with the mathematical giant Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), they first measured the density of primes in the accessible parts of the number world and then proved the Some writers call this simple law one of the most remarkable facts in all of mathematics Similarly, while physicists have no idea to what degree the physical laws can remain accurate in extreme circumstances such as below the subatomic level, or inside black holes prime number theorem supplies, and they are hard at work trying to reduce it further.Their current focus is to prove or disprove a possibly even better formula which Bernhard Riemann (1826 to 1866) proposed in 1859. He was the mathematical genius who came up with the curved geometry Einstein would use later to construct and describe his universe, and he developed intricate analytic methods to improve on that theorem. If Riemann's function could be proven, it would nail down the quantity of primes up to any large number so accurately that it should allow to locate the primes anywhere within the number sequence and so to show that they follow a very subtle and precise pattern As of 1986, a team of researchers had verified, with over a thousand hours on a supercomputer, that Riemann’s guess holds true for the first billion and a half values obtained with his function Meanwhile, in November 2001, Sebastian Wedeniwski at IBM Germany announced that even longer calculations, distributed over many thousands of desktop computers, have extended that verification to over ten billion entries, and he posted details at www.hipilib.de/zeta/index.html. However, this sampling says nothing about the rest of the sequence. A single exception anywhere would show the hypothesis to be false, so proving it for all numbers remains one of the foremost mathematical research challenges for the 21 To underscore its great importance, the Riemann Hypothesis is now one of the seven " Experts in the field call the verification of this hypothesis "perhaps the deepest existing problem in pure mathematics" .^{25}The climb to this highest and innermost bastion of the numberworld maze may be steep and thorny, but the view from its summit is expected to allow the intrepid climbers, or their future disciples, to deduce the design of that otherwise apparently impenetrable labyrinth. | |||||||||

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