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The story of a theorem

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Valentin Hübner.

Just how do mathematicians create new mathematics? In this talk I will discuss the work of my recent MSc student, Chris Smith, and tell the story of how he proved his result, as well as show the result itself (which yields a new world record in the bound on the point where pi(x), the number of primes less than x, first exceeds li(x), the logarithmic integral). For undergraduates it can sometimes be hard to know about all the false starts, the serendipitous accidents, and the shear hard slog that goes into finding and publishing a new theorem, as in a lecture the result is often presented fait accompli. But in this talk we’ll spend time looking at the events that led to the result, from inception to completion.

This talk is part of the The Archimedeans (CU Mathematical Society) series.

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