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Issue 11 - July 2004

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story pic Professor Louis De Branges de Bourcia, a mathematician at Purdue University, Indiana may be in line for a $1m payout after claiming to have proved the Riemann Hypothesis -one of the greatest unsolved problems in maths. The hypothesis is based on prime numbers and mathematicians have been baffled by it for more than 150 years.

Essentially, the hypothesis is a complex theory about the nature of prime numbers - those numbers divisible only by 1 and themselves- and such is the difficulty of the problem that the Clay Mathematics Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, offered a $1m purse to whoever proved it first.

Though not yet published, Leonard Lipshitz, head of Purdue's mathematics department,
said that de Branges' claim should be taken seriously.
Work will take place to verify if de Bourcia has indeed
solved this century and a half old puzzle.

De Bourcia has posted a 23-page paper on the internet
detailing his attempt at a proof. Professor de Bourcia’s personal web page: http://www.math.purdue.edu/~branges/

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