# prime number

 7.8 million digits down, only 2.2 million more needed! It has often been observed that mathematics is astonishingly effective as a tool for understanding the universe. But, asks Phil Wilson, why should this be? Is mathematics a universal truth, and how would we tell? Following on from his article 'The prime number lottery' in last issue of Plus, Marcus du Sautoy continues his exploration of the greatest unsolved problem of mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesis. Marcus du Sautoy begins a two part exploration of the greatest unsolved problem of mathematics: The Riemann Hypothesis. In the first part, we find out how the German mathematician Gauss, aged only 15, discovered the dice that Nature used to chose the primes. The number chosen by the England captain for his Real Madrid shirt is rich in mysterious connotations. But mathematician Marcus du Sautoy backs a new theory to explain why Beckham has plumped for number 23. Can Dan Goldston and Cem Yalcin Yildrim repair the hole in their proof to make the biggest breakthrough in prime number theory for 80 years? The Riemann Hypothesis is probably the hardest unsolved problem in all of mathematics, and one of the most important. It has to do with prime numbers - the building blocks of arithmetic. Nick Mee, together with Sir Arthur C. Clarke, tells us about the patterns hiding inside numbers. Two computer science students and their professor prove testing for primes is easy - a result that has eluded mathematicians for centuries. In 1998, Goldbach's Conjecture was shown by computer to be true for even numbers up to 400,000,000,000,000. In addition, some progress has been made towards formally proving the conjecture. As of this year, mathematicians with Goldbach fever have some extra incentive for their labours.