A New (Math) World

Institute: AIM     March 2008

zfunctionwideA new mathematical object was revealed during a lecture at the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM). Two researchers from the University of Bristol exhibited the first example of a third degree transcendental L-function. These L-functions encode deep underlying connections between many different areas of mathematics.

The news caused excitement at the AIM workshop attended by 25 of the world’s leading analytic number theorists. The work is a joint project between Ce Bian and his adviser, Andrew Booker. Booker commented that, “This work was made possible by a combination of theoretical advances and the power of modern computers.” During his lecture, Bian reported that it took approximately 10,000 hours of computer time to produce his initial results.

Dorian Goldfeld, Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University summarized the excitement, saying “This discovery is analogous to finding planets in remote solar systems. We know they are out there, but the problem is to detect them and determine what they look like. It gives us a glimpse of new worlds.”

More information is available on the AIM website.