Tomorrow (i.e. Monday 24th), at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, retired Professor Michael Atiyah will deliver a lecture, in which, according to his abstract, he will deliver a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis, which is generally regarded as the greatest, most important unsolved problem in mathematics.

It's fair to say that the general buzz in the mathematical community by those who have openly speculated is very sceptical. Atiyah, whilst undoubtedly being one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, is now aged 89, and there's a widepsread view that his claim will turn out to be a mistake due to old age catching up with him, a bit sad really. On the other hand, not all who have relevant expertise are sceptical.

G H Hardy once asserted that no important original result in maths had ever been achieved by anyone over 50 (due to the waning of one's mathematical powers as the brain, errm, develops with age - undoubtedly the raw logic processing power does decay substantially already by middle age, and the balance between the accumulation of relevant knowledge and the ability to use whatever knowledge one has to prove new things starts tipping downwards probably already by the age of around 40). If the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest of all mathematical challenges, is proved tomorrow by a man aged 89, that will be nothing short of miraculous.

[I see from OTF's spellchecker, presumably based on North American software, that "sceptical" starts "sk.." west of the Atlantic.]

It's fair to say that the general buzz in the mathematical community by those who have openly speculated is very sceptical. Atiyah, whilst undoubtedly being one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, is now aged 89, and there's a widepsread view that his claim will turn out to be a mistake due to old age catching up with him, a bit sad really. On the other hand, not all who have relevant expertise are sceptical.

G H Hardy once asserted that no important original result in maths had ever been achieved by anyone over 50 (due to the waning of one's mathematical powers as the brain, errm, develops with age - undoubtedly the raw logic processing power does decay substantially already by middle age, and the balance between the accumulation of relevant knowledge and the ability to use whatever knowledge one has to prove new things starts tipping downwards probably already by the age of around 40). If the Riemann Hypothesis, the greatest of all mathematical challenges, is proved tomorrow by a man aged 89, that will be nothing short of miraculous.

[I see from OTF's spellchecker, presumably based on North American software, that "sceptical" starts "sk.." west of the Atlantic.]

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