Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Math Is Cool

In his profile for the 2006 TopCoder Open, in response to the question, "If you could be the keeper to the answer of one of the most unknown questions in the world, what would be the question?" Reid Barton wrote: "The Riemann Hypothesis. Then I’d sell out, in exchange for eternal fame and fortune."

Thanks to Google and Wikipedia, I found:

Which, in turn, lead to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riemann_zeta_function, where two things have always seemed too cool to me (in a totally math-geek sorta way):

1) That a series like this can result in the value pi; somewhat like a mystical incantation, where each term leads closer to unleashing the magic.

And, even cooler:

2) That the equation is directly and provably related to primes; written in long form:

To smarter folks than I, these relationships may seem intuitively obvious. But, to me they offer a window on relationships in mathematics that seem nearly magical. To me, that's cool.

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