- Andrew Wiles is the recipient of this year’s Abel Prize. I have to confess that I found this surprising, since I assumed he’d already won this. His work in general and specifically the work that led to the proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem is on any reasonable list of the top few achievements in mathematics in recent decades.
I’d heard and Nature confirms that Wiles has for quite a while now been working quietly on the BSD Conjecture, maybe some day there will be another very dramatic moment in the subject, and another documentary.
- Erica Klarreich at Quanta has the story of a surprising new result about prime numbers from Kannan Soundararajan and Rober Lemke Oliver. They have found that, given a prime number with a certain last digit, there are different probability for the last digit of the next one (among the various possibilities). This violates usual assumptions that such things are in some sense “random”, indicating just how subtle this “randomness” is.
For more details, there’s an excellent blog post from Terry Tao. This might be a good time to point out that people sometimes complain about the quality of coverage of scientific advances aimed at non-experts. From what I’ve seen in recent years, the coverage of mathematics advances has been of extremely high quality, with this story a good example.
- April 29 is the release date for The Man Who Knew Infinity, a film about the life of Ramanujan. It’s based on a great biography and a fascinating story. I hope this turns out better than the similar situation with the film about Turing.
Update: It turns out that an astronomer, Chung-Ming Ko, had already a while ago done some calculations showing non-randomness in the last digits of primes, see here. The new paper has been updated to refer to that.
Reports about the Ramanujan film are that they took great pains to get the mathematics right, with Ken Ono and Manjul Bhargava working extensively on the film.
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