Questions tagged [nt.number-theory]

Prime numbers, diophantine equations, diophantine approximations, analytic or algebraic number theory, arithmetic geometry, Galois theory, transcendental number theory, continued fractions

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Polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$?

Is there any polynomial $f(x,y)\in{\mathbb Q}[x,y]{}$ such that $f\colon\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow\mathbb{Q}$ is a bijection?
Z.H.'s user avatar
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293 votes
8 answers
141k views

Philosophy behind Mochizuki's work on the ABC conjecture

Mochizuki has recently announced a proof of the ABC conjecture. It is far too early to judge its correctness, but it builds on many years of work by him. Can someone briefly explain the philosophy ...
288 votes
7 answers
22k views

Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers

Lagrange proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 4 squares. Gauss proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 3 triangular numbers. Is there a 2-variable polynomial $f(x,y) \in \...
Bjorn Poonen's user avatar
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233 votes
14 answers
75k views

Have any long-suspected irrational numbers turned out to be rational?

The history of proving numbers irrational is full of interesting stories, from the ancient proofs for $\sqrt{2}$, to Lambert's irrationality proof for $\pi$, to Roger Apéry's surprise demonstration ...
178 votes
11 answers
49k views

Knuth's intuition that Goldbach might be unprovable

Knuth's intuition that Goldbach's conjecture (every even number greater than 2 can be written as a sum of two primes) might be one of the statements that can neither be proved nor disproved really ...
AgCl's user avatar
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173 votes
3 answers
64k views

Estimating the size of solutions of a diophantine equation

A. Is there natural numbers $a,b,c$ such that $\frac{a}{b+c} + \frac{b}{a+c} + \frac{c}{a+b}$ is equal to an odd natural number ? (I do not know any such numbers). B. Suppose that $\frac{a}{b+c} + \...
alex alexeq's user avatar
  • 1,861
166 votes
3 answers
39k views

Convergence of $\sum(n^3\sin^2n)^{-1}$

I saw a while ago in a book by Clifford Pickover, that whether the Flint Hills series $\displaystyle \sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac1{n^3\sin^2 n}$ converges is open. I would think that the question of its ...
Andrés E. Caicedo's user avatar
163 votes
11 answers
26k views

Why is the Gamma function shifted from the factorial by 1?

I've asked this question in every math class where the teacher has introduced the Gamma function, and never gotten a satisfactory answer. Not only does it seem more natural to extend the factorial ...
Kevin Casto's user avatar
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153 votes
7 answers
70k views

Consequences of the Riemann hypothesis

I assume a number of results have been proven conditionally on the Riemann hypothesis, of course in number theory and maybe in other fields. What are the most relevant you know? It would also be nice ...
149 votes
2 answers
21k views

What is a Frobenioid?

Since there will be a long digression in a moment, let me start by reassuring you that my intention really is to ask the question in the title. Recently, there has been a flurry of new discussion ...
Minhyong Kim's user avatar
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145 votes
4 answers
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What are "perfectoid spaces"?

This talk is about a theory of "perfectoid spaces", which "compares objects in characteristic p with objects in characteristic 0". What are those spaces, where can one read about them? Edit: A bit ...
Thomas Riepe's user avatar
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142 votes
4 answers
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If $2^x $and $3^x$ are integers, must $x$ be as well?

I'm fascinated by this open problem (if it is indeed still that) and every few years I try to check up on its status. Some background: Let $x$ be a positive real number. If $n^x$ is an integer for ...
138 votes
0 answers
13k views

Grothendieck-Teichmüller conjecture

(1) In "Esquisse d'un programme", Grothendieck conjectures Grothendieck-Teichmüller conjecture: the morphism $$ G_{\mathbb{Q}} \longrightarrow Aut(\widehat{T}) $$ is an isomorphism. Here $...
AFK's user avatar
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137 votes
2 answers
54k views

Consequences resulting from Yitang Zhang's latest claimed results on Landau-Siegel zeros

Very recently, Yitang Zhang just gave a (virtual) talk about his work on Landau-Siegel zeros at Shandong University on the 5th of November's morning in China. He will also give a talk on 8th November ...
Blanco's user avatar
  • 1,503
127 votes
13 answers
29k views

Why are modular forms interesting?

Well, I'm aware that this question may seem very naive to the several experts on this topic that populate this site: feel free to add the "soft question" tag if you want... So, knowing nothing about ...
117 votes
8 answers
32k views

Zagier's one-sentence proof of a theorem of Fermat

Zagier has a very short proof (MR1041893, JSTOR) for the fact that every prime number $p$ of the form $4k+1$ is the sum of two squares. The proof defines an involution of the set $S= \lbrace (x,y,z) \...
Keivan Karai's user avatar
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116 votes
5 answers
32k 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 $193{,}707{,}721\times 761{,}838{,}257{,}287$. There doesn't seem to be ...
David E Speyer's user avatar
114 votes
4 answers
25k views

Is the series $\sum_n|\sin n|^n/n$ convergent?

Problem. Is the series $$\sum_{n=1}^\infty\frac{|\sin(n)|^n}n$$convergent? (The problem was posed on 22.06.2017 by Ph D students of H.Steinhaus Center of Wroclaw Polytechnica. The promised prize for ...
Lviv Scottish Book's user avatar
114 votes
3 answers
5k views

The number $\pi$ and summation by $SL(2,\mathbb Z)$

Let $f(a,b,c,d)=\sqrt{a^2+b^2}+\sqrt{c^2+d^2}-\sqrt{(a+c)^2+(b+d)^2}$. (it is the defect in the triangle inequality) Then, we discovered by heuristic arguments and then verified by computer that $$\...
Nikita Kalinin's user avatar
113 votes
22 answers
37k views

What's the "best" proof of quadratic reciprocity?

For my purposes, you may want to interpret "best" as "clearest and easiest to understand for undergrads in a first number theory course," but don't feel too constrained.
111 votes
7 answers
8k views

Is the set $ AA+A $ always at least as large as $ A+A $?

Let $A$ be a finite set of real numbers. Is it always the case that $|AA+A| \geq |A+A|$? My first instinct is that this is obviously true, and there is a one-line proof which I am foolishly ...
Oliver Roche-Newton's user avatar
107 votes
6 answers
18k views

How small can a sum of a few roots of unity be?

Let $n$ be a large natural number, and let $z_1, \ldots, z_{10}$ be (say) ten $n^{th}$ roots of unity: $z_1^n = \ldots = z_{10}^n = 1$. Suppose that the sum $S = z_1+\ldots+z_{10}$ is non-zero. How ...
Terry Tao's user avatar
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105 votes
5 answers
9k views

integral of a "sin-omial" coefficients=binomial

I find the following averaged-integral amusing and intriguing, to say the least. Is there any proof? For any pair of integers $n\geq k\geq0$, we have $$\frac1{\pi}\int_0^{\pi}\frac{\sin^n(x)}{\...
T. Amdeberhan's user avatar
104 votes
6 answers
19k views

Why does the Riemann zeta function have non-trivial zeros?

This is a very basic question of course, and exposes my serious ignorance of analytic number theory, but what I am looking for is a good intuitive explanation rather than a formal proof (though a ...
gowers's user avatar
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104 votes
10 answers
17k views

"Understanding" $\mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$

I have heard people say that a major goal of number theory is to understand the absolute Galois group of the rational numbers $G = \mathrm{Gal}(\bar{\mathbb{Q}}/\mathbb{Q})$. What do people mean when ...
Jonah Sinick's user avatar
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102 votes
4 answers
37k 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 said....
pageman's user avatar
  • 1,053
100 votes
2 answers
11k views

Riemann hypothesis via absolute geometry

Several leading mathematicians (e.g. Yuri Manin) have written or said publicly that there is a known outline of a likely natural proof of the Riemann hypothesis using absolute algebraic geometry over ...
Zoran Skoda's user avatar
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97 votes
19 answers
36k views

Collecting proofs that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic

I teach elementary number theory and discrete mathematics to students who come with no abstract algebra. I have found proving the key theorem that finite multiplicative subgroups of fields are cyclic ...
94 votes
6 answers
13k views

Quasicrystals and the Riemann Hypothesis

Let $0 < k_1 < k_2 < k_3 < \cdots $ be all the zeros of the Riemann zeta function on the critical line: $$ \zeta(\frac{1}{2} + i k_j) = 0 $$ Let $f$ be the Fourier transform of the sum ...
John Baez's user avatar
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88 votes
7 answers
13k views

If I exchange infinitely many digits of $\pi$ and $e$, are the two resulting numbers transcendental?

If I swap the digits of $\pi$ and $e$ in infinitely many places, I get two new numbers. Are these two numbers transcendental?
user avatar
87 votes
38 answers
25k views

Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics?

Where is number theory used in the rest of mathematics? To put it another way: what interesting questions are there that don't appear to be about number theory, but need number theory in order to ...
87 votes
12 answers
11k views

Why do we make such big deal about the 'unsolvability' of the quintic?

The unsolvability of a general quintic equation in terms of the basic arithmetic operations and $n$th roots (i.e. the Abel–Ruffini theorem) is considered a major result in the mathematical canon. I ...
Arthur's user avatar
  • 1,379
86 votes
9 answers
13k views

Why should I believe the Mordell Conjecture?

It was Faltings who first proved in 1983 the Mordell conjecture, that a curve of genus 2 or more over a number field has only finitely many rational points. I am interested to know why Mordell and ...
Barinder Banwait's user avatar
85 votes
4 answers
14k views

Etale cohomology -- Why study it?

I know (at least I think I know) that some of the main motivating problems in the development of etale cohomology were the Weil conjectures. I'd like to know what other problems one can solve using ...
Joel Dodge's user avatar
  • 2,779
85 votes
4 answers
21k views

The enigmatic complexity of number theory

One of the most salient aspects of the discipline of number theory is that from a very small number of definitions, entities and axioms one is led to an extraordinary wealth and diversity of theorems, ...
85 votes
8 answers
12k views

What are the local Langlands conjectures nowadays, for connected reductive groups over a $p$-adic field?

Let me stress that I am only interested in $p$-adic fields in this question, for reasons that will become clear later. Let me also stress that in some sense I am basically assuming that the reader ...
Kevin Buzzard's user avatar
84 votes
2 answers
6k views

A little number theoretic game

I came up with this little two player game: The players take turns naming a positive integer. When one player says the number n, the other player can only reply in two different ways: They can either ...
Leif Sabellek's user avatar
83 votes
8 answers
12k views

The inverse Galois problem, what is it good for?

Several years ago I attended a colloquium talk of an expert in Galois theory. He motivated some of his work on its relation with the inverse Galois problem. During the talk, a guy from the audience ...
82 votes
30 answers
68k views

Applications of the Chinese remainder theorem

As the title suggests I am interested in CRT applications. Wikipedia article on CRT lists some of the well known applications (e.g. used in the RSA algorithm, used to construct an elegant Gödel ...
80 votes
10 answers
9k views

Existence of a zero-sum subset

Some time ago I heard this question and tried playing around with it. I've never succeeded to making actual progress. Here it goes: Given a finite (nonempty) set of real numbers, $S=\{a_1,a_2,\dots, ...
Gjergji Zaimi's user avatar
79 votes
12 answers
12k views

Is there a high-concept explanation for why characteristic 2 is special?

The structure of the multiplicative groups of $\mathbb{Z}/p\mathbb{Z}$ or of $\mathbb{Z}_p$ is the same for odd primes, but not for $2.$ Quadratic reciprocity has a uniform statement for odd primes, ...
Qiaochu Yuan's user avatar
79 votes
6 answers
11k 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 ...
Noam D. Elkies's user avatar
78 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Vidit Nanda's user avatar
  • 15.5k
78 votes
0 answers
3k views

The exponent of Ш of $y^2 = x^3 + px$, where $p$ is a Fermat prime

For $d$ a non-zero integer, let $E_d$ be the elliptic curve $$ E_d : y^2 = x^3+dx. $$ When we let $d$ be $p = 2^{2^k}+1$, for $k \in \{1,2,3,4\}$, sage tells us that, conditionally on BSD, $$ \# Ш(E_p)...
R.P.'s user avatar
  • 4,745
77 votes
9 answers
25k views

Irreducibility of polynomials in two variables

Let $k$ be a field. I am interested in sufficient criteria for $f \in k[x,y]$ to be irreducible. An example is Theorem A of this paper (Brindza and Pintér, On the irreducibility of some polynomials in ...
Hailong Dao's user avatar
  • 30.3k
77 votes
5 answers
18k views

Inaccessible cardinals and Andrew Wiles's proof

In a recent issue of New Scientist (16 Aug 2010), I was surprised to read that a part of Wiles' proof of Taniyama-Shimura conjecture relies on inaccessible cardinals. Here's the article Richard Elwes,...
Cosmonut's user avatar
  • 1,041
76 votes
3 answers
18k views

Czelakowski's claimed proof of the Twin Prime Conjecture

It seems like the article "The Twin Primes Conjecture is True in the Standard Model of Peano Arithmetic: Applications of Rasiowa–Sikorski Lemma in Arithmetic (I)" by Janusz Czelakowski ...
Glycerius's user avatar
  • 1,023
76 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is it known that the ring of periods is not a field?

I have just learned here that we know numbers that are not periods; is it known meanwhile that the ring of periods is not a field? I know that it is conjectured that $1/\pi$ is not a period, but the ...
Franz Lemmermeyer's user avatar
75 votes
4 answers
5k views

What are reasons to believe that e is not a period?

In their 2001 paper defining periods, Kontsevich and Zagier (pdf) without further comment state that $e$ is conjecturally not a period while many other numbers showing up naturally (conjecturally) are....
Vincent's user avatar
  • 2,437
75 votes
1 answer
15k views

A number theory problem where pi appears surprisingly

For a given positive integer $M$, the sequence $\{a_n\}$ starts from $a_{2M+1}=M(2M+1)$ and $a_k$ is the largest multiple of $k$ no more than $a_{k+1}+M$, i.e. $$a_k=k\left\lfloor\frac{a_{k+1}+M}{k}\...
Andrew Sakura's user avatar

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