Nigerian prof claims he’s cracked maths problem bugging mathematicians for 156 years

17 Nov 2015

A Nigerian professor claims to have solved a 156-year-old maths problem known as the Riemann Hypothesis, earning himself $1m if it’s proved to be true.

First proposed by Austrian mathematician Bernhard Riemann, the Riemann Hypothesis had pondered questions on the distribution of prime numbers and had at the beginning of this millennium been considered one of the most important unsolved problems in the field.

In fact, it is among one of seven mathematical problems that have been set out by one of the world’s most respected mathematical institutions: the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI).

But now, in an interview with the BBC, Dr Opeyemi Enoch from the Federal University in the Nigerian city of Oye Ekiti claimed he’s managed to crunch the numbers just right, presenting his solution to his peers for review.

Issuing a statement on its professor, the Federal University said: “Dr Enoch first investigated and then established the claims of Riemann.

“He went on to consider and to correct the misconceptions that were communicated by mathematicians in the past generations, thus paving the way for his solutions and proofs to be established.

“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.”

If he has indeed cracked the theorem that has left mathematicians scratching their heads for over a century, Dr Enoch will receive $1m from the CMI.

Maths problem image via Shutterstock

Update 17/11/2015 15:46

This article has been amended to reflect that Dr Enoch’s hypothesis has not been confirmed as of yet.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic