Saturday, July 13, 2013

Math in the News: The Twin Prime Conjecture

A common question people wonder is "What do mathematicians do?" People know that scientists make advancements in science and engineers make advancements in engineering, but what about math? Similarly, mathematicians make advancements in math.

This is often an odd concept to people, since math seems like it is all figured out. How could it be taught so definitively if there are still things to figure out? But, there are tons of conjectures out there that people are trying to prove.

One of them is called the Twin Prime Conjecture. You are probably aware that a prime number is a number that is only divisible by one and itself. There are an infinite number of prime numbers (click here to see a proof). Twin primes are two prime numbers that differ by two. For instance, 3 and 5 are twin primes because they are both prime and differ by two.

We know that there are an infinite number of primes, but are there an infinite number of twin primes? This is one of the things that has yet to be figured out, and the Twin Prime Conjecture is asking this question.

Recently, a big jump was made in trying to prove this conjecture. So, I will post the article from News Scientist that describes the latest advancements on it.

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