Title: The secret life of primes
Speaker: Maria Nastasescu
Speaker Info: Brown
Some of the most fascinating numbers, the primes have been studied since the time of the ancient Greeks. Despite their relevance to modern society, many questions about them are surprisingly hard to answer. How are the primes sprinkled among the natural numbers? How many prime numbers are less than a billion? How many primes have last digit 1, 3, 7 or 9? We will explore these questions with a focus on their link to certain functions, called L-functions, the most famous of which is the Riemann zeta function.Date: Monday, January 28, 2019
We will discuss this connection from a historical perspective, starting with the work of Euler and Riemann that has intertwined the distribution of prime numbers with the Riemann Hypothesis, one of the most famous problems in mathematics. We will get a glimpse into the vast universe of L-functions, the invention of which was pioneered by Dirichlet in the 19th century. We will also explore how questions about primes and L-functions have shaped modern research and why the secrets of primes remain tantalizingly hidden.