Sometimes I like reading about (simple) mathematical problems and today I want to talk to you about a problem I encountered while reading a math book: the Goldbach’s conjecture. I admit that this is a topic that probably won’t be very useful in our life as programmers, but I find it fascinating and curious and so I decided to talk about it.

What is it about?

Christian Goldbach was a German mathematician famous only for having formulated the conjecture that bears his name. The conjecture is very simple and states that every even whole number can be written as the sum of two prime numbers. It is the classic example of a mathematical problem that is simple to state but difficult to prove…

Let’s see some examples:

4 = 2 + 2
6 = 3 + 3
8 = 5 + 3

.....

16 = 13 + 3

..... 

100 = 97 + 3

.....

Goldbach proposed the problem to Euler in a letter in 1742, asking him to prove that the statement is true for all even numbers, or to find an example that disproves it. Euler never gave a mathematical proof and none have been given since that day.

Empirical evidence has never contradicted Goldbach’s conjecture, but a mathematical proof has never been given and therefore the problem of proving this conjecture is still unsolved…

Maybe with a little bit of effort and luck you will be able to find a demonstration and go down in history as the one who solved the Goldbach conjecture 🙂

For the record, the book I’m reading is “What is Mathematics?” by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins, which I highly recommend you to read.

Bye bye my friends!