A top mathematician has claimed that he has the answer to the Riemann Hypothesis, a 160-year-old puzzle worth $1 million.
In a lecture on Monday, Sept. 24, at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany, Sir Michael Atiyah from the University of Edinburgh presented his solution in front of other mathematicians. His work still has to be reviewed and then published before he can claim the cash prize.
What Is The Rieman Hypothesis
The Riemann Hypothesis was posited by Bernhard Riemann, a German mathematician, in 1859. It states that the distribution of prime numbers is not random, but it follows a pattern described by the equation Riemann zeta function.
Mathematicians have checked the first 10,000,000,000,000 solutions. However, there is no proof that the primes follow a pattern.
The Proof Of A 160-Year-Old Puzzle
During his 45-minute presentation, Atiyah revealed his “radically new approach” that he believes solves that century-old challenge. He described it as a “simple proof” that builds on the insights of two other famous mathematicians: John von Neumann and Friedrich Hirzebruch.
“Solve the Riemann hypothesis and you become famous. If you are famous already, you become infamous,” he said. “Nobody believes any proof of the Riemann hypothesis because it is so difficult. Nobody has proved it, so why should anybody prove it now? Unless, of course, you have a totally new idea.”
Atiyah is a recipient of the Field Medal and the Abel Prize, often touted as the Nobel for mathematics. He is one of the most celebrated mathematicians in the United Kingdom and has served as president of the London Mathematical Society, the Royal Society, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Unsurprisingly, there are some who doubt that Atiyah has found proof of the 160-year-old challenge that his colleagues and mathematicians before him have tried and failed to solve. However, he is confident that he has found the proof and he deserves the $1 million cash prize. The Clay Mathematics Institute has yet to comment about the presentation, but its experts would still need to check if the solution presented indeed show proof of the hypothesis.
The Riemann Hypothesis is one of the seven unsolved “Millennium Prizes” from the Clay Mathematics Institute. Anyone who can solve one of the puzzles can claim $1 million cash prize from the organization.