Popular Science

2,300 years after mathematicians first noticed prime numbers, they're still intrigued

Making us scratch our heads for millennia.
prime number collage

Primes still have the power to surprise.

On March 20, American-Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands received the Abel Prize, celebrating lifetime achievement in mathematics. Langlands’ research demonstrated how concepts from geometry, algebra, and analysis could be brought together by a common link to prime numbers.

When the King of Norway presents the award to Langlands in May, he will honor the latest in a 2,300-year effort to understand prime numbers, arguably the biggest and oldest data set in mathematics.

As a mathematician devoted to this I’m fascinated by the history of prime numbers and how recent advances tease out their

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