Nigerian professor claims to have solved 156-year-old maths problem

Riemann Hypothesis is considered one of the hardest maths problem

Nigerian professor, Dr Opeyemi Enoch

One of the most important problems in mathematics, which has gone more than 150 years, has finally been solved by a Nigerian professor.

The maths problem, 'Riemann Hypothesis' was first proposed by mathematician Bernard Riemann in 1859 and concerns the distribution of prime numbers.

According to the Clay Mathematics Institute, the hypothesis asserts that all solutions of the equation ζ(s) = 0 lies on a certain vertical straight line.

It has become arguably the most famous problem in mathematics, since Fermat's Last Theorem was solved in the 1990s.

However, speaking in an interview with BBC, the Nigerian professor, Dr Opeyemi Enoch said he made a key breakthrough in 2010 which later enabled him to solve the puzzle.

Dr Enoch, who teaches at the Federal University of Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) in Nigeria, said he was motivated to solve the 156-year-old problem because of his students.

'The motivation was because my students trusted that the solution could come from me - not because the financial reward and that was why I started trying to solve the problem in the first place,' he said.

Nigerian news site, Vanguard has reported that the professor presented his proof on 11 November during the International Conference on Mathematics and Computer Science in Vienna.

However, in spite of his achievement, Dr Enoch said he has received criticisms from some people.

According to some of them, "If this man can solve the Riemann problem...why should he not be able to provide solutions to Nigeria's problems?" Dr Enoch said.

''Some guys celebrated it, some criticised it, saying what has that got to do with putting food on the tables of Nigerians,'' the academic added.

Meanwhile, a statement from the university said that having started investigating the problem, Dr Enoch 'went on to consider and to correct the misconceptions that were communicated by mathematicians in the past generations.

'He also showed how other problems of this kind can be formulated and obtained the matrix that Hilbert and Poly predicted will give these undiscovered solutions. He revealed how these solutions are applicable in cryptography, quantum information science and in quantum computers," the statement added.


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