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How many primes are smaller than x? How many divisors does an integer n have? How many different numbers appear in the N x N multiplication table? Precise formulas for these quantities probably don’t exist, but over the past 150 years tremendous progress has been made towards understanding these and similar questions using tools and methods from analysis. The goal of this tutorial is to explain and motivate the ubiquitous appearance of analysis in modern number theory–a surprising fact, given that analysis is concerned with continuous functions, while number theory is concerned with discrete objects (integers, primes, divisors, etc). Topics to be covered will include some subset of the following: asymptotic analysis, partial and Euler-Maclaurin summation, counting divisors and Dirichlet’s hyperbola method, the randomness of prime factorization and the Erdos-Kac theorem, the partition function and the saddle point method, the prime number theorem and the Riemann zeta function, primes in arithmetic progressions and Dirichlet L-functions, the Goldbach conjecture and the circle method, and sieve methods and gaps between primes.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Regularly preparing lectures and writing expository essays in LaTeX. No exams.
MATH 350 or MATH 351 and familiarity with basic modular arithmetic are hard prerequisites. Familiarity with complex analysis and abstract algebra recommended, but not required.
Students with complex analysis background will be given priority.