Prime numbers are numbers that cannot be divided by any other number except themselves and 1. For example, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and 17 are all prime numbers. Aside from their theoretical interest, large prime numbers have become increasingly important in day to day life since they underpin the cryptography that allows secure transactions to take place on the internet (such as encrypting your credit card details when you buy online). While there are standard techniques to discover new primes, and more importantly, check whether a number really is a prime, mathematicians have not been able to discover if there is any order to the way in which primes are distributed. However, the German mathematician G.F.G. Riemann (1826-1866) noticed that the frequency of primes is highly related to the Zeta Function, now known as the Riemann Zeta Function.
The Riemann Hypothesis is that "The real part of any non-trivial zero of the Riemann Zeta Function is 1/2." It sounds complicated (and it is!) but a lot rests on whether his hypothesis is true. There are many equations in abstract mathematics that have been solved on the assumption that the hypothesis is true--and if it isn't, then not only would we have to look at those equations again, but it would aso imply that there is a certain order to primes.
(As of 2004, the largest known prime was 7235733 digits long!)
BOTTOM RIGHT: $1,000,000 prize offered upon solving this puzzle see http://www.claymath.org/millennium/Riemann_Hypothesis/
- There are two schools of thought
- First, this ARG is being used as a giant grid puzzle solving exercise, with the ultimate goal being to actually solve the Riemann Hypothesis
- Second, there is a different puzzle hidden within the card