The last few days have been an exciting one in mathematics, as a claimed proof of the Riemann Hypothesis was posted on the arXiv.
The Riemann Hypothesis, now 149 years old, is probably the most famous unsolved problem in mathematics, since Fermat's Last Theorem has been proven. (Had the RH appeared on a roll of toilet paper or something, with a flippant remark or a curse word beside it, it might well have eclipsed FLT in fame.)
The author is Xian-Jin Li of Brigham Young University, a mathematician amidst a group of people who have been making a serious push to solve the RH for several years. Li posted his proof on Tuesday at 12:43 pm MDT. Peter Woit blogged about it yesterday, and yesterday evening at 7:28 pm MDT Terry Tao of UCLA claimed to have found a problem in the proof.
But a new version of the proof (v3) was posted by Li last night at 8:44 pm MDT, so perhaps the story is not yet finished.
Li's proof is not long and does not look overly complex (of course, I'm not an expert in analytic number theory) -- you'd almost think you could understand it. There are even some integrals, which I did not realize were still allowed in modern mathematics.
Yang said there are two kinds of mathematical papers, the kind you can't understand past the first page and the kind you can't understand past the first sentence. Wouldn't it be amazing if the proof of the RH was the former!
PS: There is no shortage of purported proofs of the RH....