Sir Michael Atiyah, one of the most renowned mathematicians, who has already won two of the biggest prizes in the field of mathematics, the Fields Medal and Abel Prize, has once again stunned the world as a genius. This time, he has solved a 160-year-old math problem, the Riemann hypothesis, at a lecture.
He took the stage at Germany's Heidelberg Laureate Forum on Monday and presented his work. If Atiyah's solution is confirmed, the mathematician will receive a prize money of $1 million. The solution will be checked by other renowned mathematicians and then it will have to be published. Once it's accepted, Atiyah can claim his prize money from the Clay Mathematics Institute of Cambridge.
The Riemann hypothesis is Clay Mathematics Institute's one of seven unsolved math problems, which are known as "Millennium Prizes." Each of their solutions is worth $1 million.
This hypothesis was first put forward by one Bernhard Riemann in 1859. To solve the Riemann hypothesis, one needs to find a way, through which the occurrence of every prime number can be predicted. Now, the catch is that it is believed that the prime numbers are randomly distributed.
Riemann had found an equation, called the Riemann zeta function. The hypothesis states that the distribution of the prime numbers might follow the pattern described by that equation. So far, mathematicians have checked over 10,000,000,000,000 prime numbers and they all have been consistent with the equation, but still, there is no definitive proof that all the prime numbers will follow this pattern.
Atiyah used a "radically new approach" to solve this problem.
Here are the live tweets from Markus Pössel, an astrophysicist in Heidelberg, who was present at the lecture:
Atiyah stated in the lecture that he made use of John von Neumann and Friedrich Hirzebruch's work to get to the conclusion.
Now, we will have to wait and see what the mathematics world thinks of Sir Atiyah's solution and whether or not he receives the $1 million prize money.