I recently spent some time on the formidable website Numberphile which explains mathematical ideas, some important, some recreational, in short and accessible videos. Definitely worth checking out. One of the videos that is most relevant to us explains the Riemann Hypothesis:

# Tag Archives: Mertens

# Tossing the Prime Coin

One of the problems with explaining the Riemann Hypothesis is that its fascination comes from its deep connection to prime numbers, but its definition is in terms of complex analysis which requires a fair deal of undergraduate mathematics to understand -- and that is before you even got started to grasp what the heck the zeta-zeros have to do with the distribution of primes. My "cocktail party explanation" of the Riemann Hypothesis would usually be something like: "The prime numbers are as equally distributed as you could wish for." But there is actually a surprisingly easy interpretation of the Riemann Hypothesis: "Prime numbers behave like a random coin toss." Continue reading Tossing the Prime Coin