Posts Tagged ‘mathematician’

They keep cranking them out, don’t they?

Of course, there is the minutest possibility that this time its for real, but just going by history, I am prepared to bet all my savings against it.

Update: I apologize if my post seems to suggest that Xian-Jin Li, the author of the purported proof, is a crank. In fact, he is a competent mathematician who has done good work in the past. Nonetheless, I think that the chances of this proof being correct are extremely low; in fact Terry Tao claims to have already found a mistake.

Update 2: Xian-Jin Li has posted a new version (actually two three new versions!) of his preprint on the Arxiv. Most pertinently, the definition of the function h on page 20 has changed; so perhaps this addresses Tao’s objection above.
The reason I will be very surprised if this proof turns out to be correct is that it involves mostly functional analysis on the adeles. It has been generally believed that such techniques are not sufficient to prove Riemann. It would be a stunning achievement if Riemann is solved using only such elementary tools; will be following this news closely over the next few days.

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So how is it listening to Serge LANG?

For starters, awesome! On second thoughts, phew!

Well, Lang is a guy who actually jumps around while lecturing and every five minutes or so, comes up to a member of the audience and asks the poor creature questions!

So Jennifer was sitting there along with the rest of us, when Lang came up to her and started ,”So tell me..”

She, being female, sensed the trouble before the rest of us. “NoNoNoNoNo…”, she cries out.

Lang, is unmoved. He completes his question, tells Caltech(and the world in general) that she would have known the answer if she had only read Analysis from Lang’s book, and resumes his talk.

There were around 15 of us, including several professors, in a small Caltech classroom listening to Lang talk on “The Heat Kernel and associated zeta functions”. It was fairly elementary, and Lang is a nice speaker, but I am lucky to be one of the few who escaped the Lang sabre.

But the talk was great fun. The funniest exchange is as follows.

Lang(bellows) : If the writers of undergraduate textbooks in analysis weren’t incompetent idiots, all of you would have already known about the big bang of mathematics, the heat kernel!

Member of the audience, a professor: So is it there in your analysis book?

Lang: Well, it was in the appendix in the old edition, but, in the current edition, it is there in the text.(Smiles mischievously and walks up to a professor) Ok Sir, tell me, by Aristotelian logic, what can you therefore conclude about me?

Professor squirms and refuses to say anything.

Lang: That is not good! He wants to take the fifth amendment! Ok, you(points to a grad student), tell me, what can you conclude?

Student: You are no longer an incompetent idiot!


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