• A confession

    by  • March 29, 2017 • * Safe for Work *, Confession • 2 Comments

    Last month I wanted a million dollars. So I wrote the Riemann problem on my personal white board in as many forms as I could find it in Wikipedia and stared at it for hours. Since the name of the game is to prove that all non-trivial zeroes of the zeta function have real part equal to one half I decided to take the derivative of the relationship, set the bitch equal to zero and solve for the real part of the function. The derivative was a quotient relationship and took way longer to work out than it should have since it’s been nine years since I have done a substantial amount of calculus. When I got to the end of the derivative, it showed the ugliest fucking integral relationship I had ever seen. It was then that I understood why this problem has remained unsolved for 150 years.

    I gave up. No million dollars for me.

    The next day my wife woke up and saw all the shit I’d written on the board the night before. She thought it looked so complicated and awesome that she took a photo of it and sent it out to a bunch of our friends, implicitly claiming that it was all my work. How embarrassing. Not that many of our friends understand this sort of intermediate math but I do not own the Riemann problem…

    …the Riemann problem owns me.

    2 Responses to A confession

    1. N.
      March 29, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      Own it. Post something on a social media acount if you have one: “Riemann came up with this problem. This is what I did to follow/understand it. This is literally a million dollar question. I couldn’t solve it. That’s why it’s a million dollar question.”

      Your wife is likely impressed not because you made significant progress, but that you have any understanding of the Riemann Hypothesis at all.

      It’s possible to clarify without undermining her or your friends faith in your abilities.

      • Author
        March 30, 2017 at 4:15 pm

        Very thoughtful. Thank you.

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