Since Yitang (Tom) Zhang published his newest paper on the Landau-Siegel zeros conjecture on November 5, the legendary Chinese mathematician has once again entered the spotlight. The report on November 18 by The Intellectual, a Chinese media outlet, showcased his life and academic details.
For this research, 67-year-old Zhang commented that he has essentially solved the Landau-Siegel zeros conjecture, a big problem in the field of analytic number theory. To this end, people are shocked and awaiting more details. In mathematics, it is generally believed that only mathematicians under the age of 40 can make great achievements, which is why the Fields Medal only rewards young people under the age of 40.
Up to now, no one has been able to read this 111-page paper carefully and give a clear answer. But this does not prevent Chinese netizens from respecting Zhang. An online report held by him at the School of Mathematics of Peking University, his alma mater, on November 8 was broadcast by many platforms and watched by hundreds of thousands of people, making the topic trend that day.
In the report of The Intellectual, Zhang said that he actually noticed this problem in the late 1980s. He believed that the problem has a characteristic, that is, it seems very simple, but as long as we research it, we always seem to be very close to the answer instead of getting through it. Compared with the twin prime number conjecture, the Landau-Siegel zeros conjecture may be more significant because it has many other inferences.
Zhang mentioned in his report at Peking University that the paper will be optimized and improved. This time, Zhang said, “I think I have written this proof too long, but even if it is very long, there are still some technical details that have not been fully supplemented, or written clearly. It will take some time to rewrite it and publish it in a magazine.”
Nowadays, most people are used to writing articles and putting them on the Internet first so that they can ask others to have a look and provide feedback. Authors then make some changes before submitting their work to be published. Zhang is also ready to take this method.
Zhang’s wife, Sun Yaling, said in the interview that in the process of studying the conjecture, she was afraid that Zhang was too immersed in mathematics, so she deliberately let him cook. Even when Zhang was cooking, he was still thinking about maths.
Zhang thought that analytic number theory is at a low point at present, but in China, such as Shandong University, there are still a group of people doing it. The younger generation of mathematicians in China is advancing by leaps and bounds. Apart from analytic number theory, fields such as algebraic number theory, arithmetical geometry, or differential calculus are also developing. Zhang noted that Chinese people are more suitable for researching analytic number theory since they are especially good at calculating numbers. He hoped that Chinese analytic number theory can be revitalized again, and that young people can be calmer and keep an eye on their goals.