Ok here is something which should interest the number theorists who read this blog (Duncan Neil possibly Daniel) . Some guy has shown that the gap between any two prime numbers is bounded to be less than 7.5*10^7. This was drawn to my attention by an article in todays independent

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/that-figures-professor-who-had-to-work-at-subway-dazzles-world-of-maths-after-solving-centuriesold-prime-number-riddle-8625637.html

A bit more detail can be found here

http://simonsfoundation.org/features/science-news/unheralded-mathematician-bridges-the-prime-gap/

If ever I do the analytical number theory options for the MSc I might get a glimmer of what is going on.

For those who have access to the Open University a draft of his paper can be found in the Annals of Maths forthcoming papers just search for Zhang. For those who don't I can download a copy for them just send me an e-mail chrisf19572002@yahoo.co.uk

What is heartwarming about this story is that it shows the virtues of persistance and being willing to spend a lot of time on ones own in relative obscurity not publishing many papers. In these days of corporate research where everything is governed by how many papers you can churn out (a bit like meeting TMA deadlines) its great that some people still have enough independence to pursue their dream. Alas as my fellow blogger Nilo has pointed out this is all to rare.

http://mathematics-diary.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/what-is-mathematical-research.html

Will give an update on progress in Fluids over the weekend completed about 60% worth of the last TMA which should be enough to enable me to get a grade 2 as far as OCAS is concerned but just missed the lunchtime post so don't know if I'll make the deadline Music this weekend.

Very interesting Chris as it may suddenly unlock some of these longstanding conjectures. Also, I agree that it is good that people can still work on their own and produce important work. So now we will have to keep an eye out for new developments!

ReplyDeleteIt's a lovely story. I wonder if having a humdrum day job, allowed him to ponder these thoughts more easily, rather than being intellectually drained by all the publishing of 'filler' papers, on subjects that he might have had no interest in, as you rightly suggest.

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