You Don't Have to Be a Genius to Work at Subway...

September 19, 2014 2:51 AM

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You Don't Have to Be a Genius to Work at Subway...

Zhang's unlikely academic career saw him emerge from total obscurity in April 2013 with a correct announcement of a huge breakthrough on the twin-prime conjecture. That conjecture states that there are an infinite number of prime numbers p (such as 3, 5, 11, and 17) for which another prime can be found no further away than p + 2 (in those examples p + 2 is also prime). This problem was considered unsolvable using current methods. We didn't even know of any gap g for which we could say with 100-percent certainty that there were an infinite number of primes p for which another prime can be found no further away than p + g. What Zhang showed, using highly innovative methods, was that this last statement was correct for g = 70,000,000, a large but finite gap. Establishing smaller and smaller gaps would be even more desirable, the twin-prime conjecture being the case g = 2. Within a year of Zhang's announcement, others had roped in that gap, showing that it was 246 or less.

Thirty-two-year-old biophysicist Danielle Bassett is another 2014 McArthur awardee, for "[adapting] mathematical approaches associated with the study of complex networks (such as computer or social networks) to analyze interactions among neurons in different regions of the brain while a person does ...

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