Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Riemann Conjecture

Mein Lieber Herr Riemann,
All night I will dream on,
'Bout how you deserve a lecture.
But of course I allude
To your famous and shrewd
Outstanding and unsolved conjecture.

Oh, I owe you my life,
My 3 kids and my wife,
For the proof of the Prime Number Theorem.
Your zeta function trick
Made the proof really slick,
And those primes — no more do I fear 'em.

But I just stop to think,
How I've taken (hic) to drink,
And evolved this hysterical laugh —
Because still I don't know
If ζ's roots all go
On the line Re z = 1/2!

So I don't sleep at night,
And I'm losing my sight
In search of this darn thing's solution.
As my mind starts to go
My calculations grow
In a flood of "complex" confusion.

I bought a computer;
Not any astuter,
It ran for nearly 10 years — no jive!
But still it doesn't know
If zeta's roots all go
On that line Re z = .5

Now I sit in my room —
I feel doomed in the gloom —
And entombed by mountains of paper.
Still, I pray that some night
My "ol' lightbulb" will light
With the clue that could wrap-up this caper!

— "The Riemann Conjecture," Jonathan P. Dowling, Mathematics Magazine 62 (June 1989) 197; Reprinted in Gamma: Exploring Euler's Constant, by Julian Havil (Princeton University Press, 2003); see also the German-Language Edition, "Die Riemannsche Vermutung," in GAMMA - Euler's Konstante, PrimzahlstrŠnde und die Riemannsche Vermutung (Springer Heidelberg 2007) .

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