After Sir Michael Atiyah’s presentation of a claimed proof of the Riemann Hypothesis earlier this week at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, we’ve shared some of the immediate discussion in the aftermath, and now here’s a round-up of what we’ve learned.
I’m not sure I agree wholly with some of the viewpoint taken here, but I will admit that I was reading some of the earlier reports and not as much of the popular press coverage. Most reports I heard specifically mentioned the proof hadn’t been seen or gone over by others and suggested caution both as a result of that as well as the fact that Atiyah had had some recent false starts in the past several years. Some went as far as to mention that senior mathematicians in the related areas had not commented at all on the purported proof and hinted that this was a sign that they didn’t think the proof held water but also as a sign of respect for Atiyah so as not to besmirch his reputation either. In some sense, the quiet was kind of a kiss of death.