**102**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Gaussian prime spirals

Imagine a particle in the complex plane, starting at $c_0$, a Gaussian integer,
moving initially $\pm$ in the horizontal
or vertical directions. When it hits a Gaussian prime, it turns left $90^\...

**83**

votes

**4**answers

30k views

### Philosophy behind Yitang Zhang's work on the Twin Primes Conjecture

Yitang Zhang recently published a new attack on the Twin Primes Conjecture. Quoting Andre Granville :
“The big experts in the field had
already tried to make this approach
work,” Granville ...

**66**

votes

**6**answers

8k views

### Does Zhang's theorem generalize to $3$ or more primes in an interval of fixed length?

Let $p_n$ be the $n$-th prime number, as usual:
$p_1 = 2$, $p_2 = 3$, $p_3 = 5$, $p_4 = 7$, etc.
For $k=1,2,3,\ldots$, define
$$
g_k = \liminf_{n \rightarrow \infty} (p_{n+k} - p_n).
$$
Thus the twin ...

**65**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### The topology of Arithmetic Progressions of primes

The primary motivation for this question is the following: I would like to extract some topological statistics which capture how arithmetic progressions of prime numbers "fit together" in a manner ...

**48**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Strange (or stupid) arithmetic derivation

Let us consider the following operation on positive integers: $$n=\prod_{i=1}^{k}p_i^{\alpha_i} \qquad f(n):= \prod_{i=1}^{k}\alpha_ip_i^{\alpha_i-1}$$ (Is it true that if we apply this operation to ...

**45**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### How did Cole factor $2^{67}-1$ in 1903

I just heard a This American Life episode which recounted the famous anecdote about Frank Nelson Cole factoring $N:=2^{67}-1$ as $193707721 \times 761838257287$. There doesn't seem to be a historical ...

**45**

votes

**3**answers

7k views

### Is a “non-analytic” proof of Dirichlet's theorem on primes known or possible?

It is well-known that one can prove certain special cases of Dirichlet's theorem by exhibiting an integer polynomial $p(x)$ with the properties that the prime divisors of $\{ p(n) | n \in \mathbb{Z} \}...

**43**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Exploding primes

Suppose every prime $n$ could "explode" once.
An explosion results in $\lfloor \alpha \ln n \rfloor$ particles being
uniformly distributed over the integers in a range $n \pm \lfloor \beta \ln n \...

**42**

votes

**1**answer

9k views

### Is the Green-Tao theorem true for primes within a given arithmetic progression?

Ben Green and Terrence Tao proved that there are arbitrary length arithmetic progressions among the primes.
Now, consider an arithmetic progression with starting term $a$ and common difference $d$. ...

**42**

votes

**4**answers

11k views

### How hard is it to compute the number of prime factors of a given integer?

I asked a related question on this mathoverflow thread. That question was promptly answered. This is a natural followup question to that one, which I decided to repost since that question is answered.
...

**41**

votes

**1**answer

4k views

### Are the primes normally distributed? Or is this the Riemann hypothesis?

Forgive my very naive question. I know next to nothing about number theory, but I'm curious about the state of the art on the distribution of primes.
Let $\mathrm{Li}(x)$ be the offset logarithmic ...

**36**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Why could Mertens not prove the prime number theorem?

We know that
$$
\sum_{n \le x}\frac{1}{n\ln n} = \ln\ln x + c_1 + O(1/x)
$$
where $c_1$ is a constant. Again Mertens' theorem says that the primes $p$ satisfy
$$
\sum_{p \le x}\frac{1}{p} = \ln\ln ...

**35**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### A question on maps from $\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ to itself

Let $p\geq 3$ be a prime number, and let $u:\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}\to \mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ be a map such that, for all $l\in \mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$,$l\neq 0$, the map $k\mapsto u(k+l)-u(k)$ is a ...

**35**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Why such an interest in studying prime gaps?

Prime gaps studies seems to be one of the most fertile topics in analytic number theory, for long and in lots of directions :
lower bounds (recent works by Maynard, Tao et al. [1])
upper bounds (...

**34**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Happy New Prime Year!

It happens that next year 2011 is prime, while outgoing 2010 is
highly composite in the sense that the number of its distinct prime factors
is 4, maximal possible for a year $< 2310$.
Let me ...

**34**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Does iterating a certain function related to the sums of divisors eventually always result in a prime value?

Let define the following function for integers (from 2): $f(x)=\sigma(x)-1$, where $\sigma$ is the sum of the divisors of $x$.
For example $f(6)=6+3+2=11$, $f(5)=5$.
Note that $x$ is a fixed point for ...

**33**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Are There Primes of Every Hamming Weight?

That is, for every integer $n \in \mathbb{Z}_{>0}$ does there exist a prime which is the sum of $n$ distinct powers of $2$?
In this case, the Hamming weight of a number is the number of $1$s in ...

**31**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Integers not represented by $ 2 x^2 + x y + 3 y^2 + z^3 - z $

EDIT, 9 March 2014: when I asked this in 2010, I did not have the courage of my convictions, and so did not ask for an if and only if proof, as Kevin Buzzard quite properly pointed out. Such problems ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Prime Number Races in 2 Dimensions

Is the mapping $$f: \ \mathbb{N} \rightarrow \mathbb{Z}[i], \ \ \ n \ \mapsto
\sum_{2 < p \leq n \ {\rm prime}} e^{\frac{p-1}{4} \pi i}$$ surjective?
In 1999, when I was an undergraduate student, ...

**29**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Generalization of Tamarkin's ARO 1993, final round, problem 10/8: still a conjecture?

This is from the category "problems I cannot believe that are still open". But then again, I don't know whether it is still open; it seems to have escaped the attention of most number theorists and ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is the current status of Agrawal's conjecture?

In their famous 'Primes is in P' paper Agrawal, Kayal and Saxena stated the following conjecture:
If for coprime integers $n$ and $r$ the equality $(X-1)^n = X^n - 1$ holds in $\mathbb{Z}_n[X]/(X^...

**28**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Is Li(x) the best possible approximation to the prime-counting function?

The Prime Number Theorem says that $\lim_{n \to \infty} \frac{\pi(n)}{\mathrm{Li}(n)} = 1$, where $\mathrm{Li}(x)$ is the Logarithm integral function $\mathrm{Li}(x) = \int_2^x \frac{1}{\log(x)}dx$. ...

**27**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### What is exceptional about the prime numbers 2 and 3?

Admittedly this question is vague. But I hope to convey my point. Feel free to downvote this.
Permit me to define prime number the following way:
A number $n>1$ is a prime if all integers $d$ ...

**26**

votes

**8**answers

14k views

### What are the connections between pi and prime numbers?

I watched a video that said the probability for Gaussian integers to be relatively prime is an expression in $\pi$, and I also know about $\zeta(2) = \pi^2/6$ but I am wondering what are more ...

**26**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### Bringing Number and Graph Theory Together: A Conjecture on Prime Numbers

Some MOers have been skeptic whether something like natural number graphs can be defined coherently such that every finite graph is isomorphic to such a graph. (See my previous questions [1], [2], [3]...

**25**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### Explicit formula for Riemann zeros counting function

I've often seen it stated (in vague terms) that there's a Fourier duality between the set of prime numbers and the set of nontrivial Riemann zeta zeros.
Because there are various explicit formulae ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Composite pairs of the form n!-1 and n!+1

It's well known that the numbers of the form $n!\pm1$ are not always prime. Indeed, Wilson's Theorem guarantees that $(p-2)!-1$ and $(p-1)!+1$ are composite for every prime number $p > 5$.
Is ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Why do primes dislike dividing the sum of all the preceding primes?

I was investigating primes with the property that the sum of the first $n$ primes is divisible by $p_n$. It turns out that these primes are extremely extremely rare. For primes less than $10^9$, I ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### What is the crucial difference the Maynard/Tao approach and Goldston-Pintz-Yildirim that extends to prime k-tuples with $k>2$

Suppose $m$ is a positive integer. A quantity of interest is
$$
H_m = \liminf_{n\to\infty} \left(p_{n+m} - p_n \right)
$$
The twin prime conjecture, is, of course $H_1 = 2$, the the prime k-tuples ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### What does the numerically verified part of the Riemann Hypothesis tell about prime numbers?

I'm curious about the following question:
As of 2005(?) the Riemann hypothesis is verified for the first 10 trillion zeroes, they are all on the critical line. Does this verification gives us any ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

964 views

### Are sets with similar asymptotic behavior as the primes necessarily finite additive bases?

The set of primes $\mathbb{P}$ has many interesting properties in additive number theory and some of the most famous open problems about $\mathbb{P}$ are the well-known Goldbach's strong and weak ...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Constructing prime numbers

The classical proof of the infiniteness of prime numbers is to take the $k$ first prime numbers $p_1,\ldots,p_k$, then to form
$$n_k:=1+p_1\cdots p_k.$$
Then $n_k$ has a prime factor, which is none of ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Proof for new deterministic primality test

Claim:
Let $p$ be a positive prime. Let $n \in \left\{1, 2, 3, ...\right\}$. Then $N =
p\cdot 2^n+1$ is prime, if and only if it holds the congruence $3^{(N-1)/2} \equiv \pm1\ ($mod $N)$.
If the ...

**22**

votes

**1**answer

689 views

### How big can a set of integers be if all pairs have small gcd?

Suppose $A\subset[1,N]$ is a set of integers. If for any distinct $a,b\in A$ we have $(a,b)\leq M$ then how big can $|A|$ be?
If $M=1$ then $|A|$ is at most $\pi(N)$ since the map $a\mapsto P_+(a)$ (...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Small quotients of smooth numbers

Assume that $N=2^k$, and let $\{n_1, \dots, n_N\}$ denote the set of square-free positive integers which are generated by the first $k$ primes, sorted in increasing order. Question: what is a good ...

**22**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Permutations of $(Z/pZ)^*$

Let $p$ be a prime integer, and let $(\mathbb Z/p\mathbb Z)^*$ be the set of non-zero elements of $\mathbb Z/p \mathbb Z$.
Denote by $S((\mathbb Z/p \mathbb Z)^*)$ the group of permutations of $(\...

**21**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Philosophical Question related to Largest Known Primes

The other day while discussing math, and primes specifically, the following question came to mind, and I figured I'd ask it here to see what people's opinions on it might be.
Main Question: ...

**21**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Why so difficult to prove infinitely many restricted primes?

I wondered whether there were an infinite number of
palindromic primes written in binary (11, 101, 111, 10001, 11111, 1001001, 1101011, ...)
and quickly discovered that it is unknown
(OEIS A117697).
...

**21**

votes

**4**answers

5k views

### How does Yitang Zhang use Cauchy's inequality and Theorem 2 to obtain the error term coming from the $S_2$ sum

I have been reading Yitang Zhang's paper now for one and a half weeks and also volunteered to give a popular talk on the paper next week at Stockholm University.
Today I found a detail in the proof ...

**21**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Nontrivial circular arguments?

There is a famous circular argument for the Prime Number Theorem (PNT). It turns
out that there exists an infinite sequence of elementary-to-prove Chebyshev-type estimates
that taken together imply ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### A Polynomial With Positive Prime Density

Let $P(x)$ be a non-constant polynomial with real coefficients.
Can natural density of
$$\{n\ |\ \lfloor P(n)\rfloor \ \text{is prime.}\}$$
be positive?

**20**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### How many primes can there be in a short interval?

Given $n \in \mathbb{N}$, let $\pi(n)$ denote the number of prime numbers $\leq n$.
What is
$$
\limsup_{m \rightarrow \infty} \left( \limsup_{n \rightarrow \infty} \frac{\pi(n+m) - \pi(n)}{\pi(m)} \...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### The prime numbers modulo $k$, are not periodic

Consider the sequence of prime numbers: $2,3,5,7, \cdots$. Now reduce this sequence modulo $k$ for some integer $k > 2$. Show the resulting sequence is not periodic. :
EDIT: As noted in the ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

670 views

### Avoiding multiples of $p$

Let $p$ be a prime number and $P=\{1,2,...,p-1\}$
In how many ways we can sum all the elements of $P$ in such a way that we will reach a multiple of $p$
only when we sum the last summand?
For ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Estimate on radical of $2^n \pm 1$

Not sure if this belongs to MO or not.
Are there any lower bound on radical of $2^n \pm 1$?
We recall that radical of an integer $rad(k)$ is a product of primes which divide $k$.
As an example, if ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### For consecutive primes $a\lt b\lt c$, prove that $a+b\ge c$.

For consecutive primes $a\lt b\lt c$, prove that $a+b\ge c$.
I cannot find a counter-example to this. Do we know if this inequality is true? Alternatively, is this some documented problem (solved or ...

**19**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Asymptotic density of k-almost primes

Let $\pi_k(x)=|\{n\le x:n=p_1p_2\cdots p_k\}|$ be the counting function for the k-almost primes, generalizing $\pi(x)=\pi_1(x)$. A result of Landau is
$$\pi_k(x)\sim\frac{x(\log\log x)^{k-1}}{(k-1)!\...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### The Quaternion Moat Problem

"One cannot walk to infinity on the real line if one uses steps of bounded
length and steps on the prime numbers. This is simply
a restatement of the classic result that there are arbitrarily
large ...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Fastest Algorithm to Compute the Sum of Primes?

Can anyone help me with references to the current fastest algorithms for counting the exact sum of primes less than some number n? I'm specifically curious about the best case running times, of ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

655 views

### Are there open problems for primes which are known for probable primes?

Define "probable prime" (PP) to be natural $n>1$ satisfying $2^{n-1} \equiv 1 \pmod{n}$ or $n=2$.
Probable primes are the union of the primes and base two pseudoprimes.
This definition is much ...