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Prime numbers and physics - Input Junkie
February 24th, 2012
02:56 pm

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Prime numbers and physics


I do not recommend this video. It's got too much gosh wow and too little information. Also too much "math is a cool thing that's alien to almost everyone"-- even a little of that is too much.

However, it's really remarkable that the throwing a ball bearing at a crystal sphere produces vibrations with a distribution similar to the distribution of primes. There. You didn't have to listen to five minutes of blather to find that out.

In fact, it was so remarkable that I checked to see whether this is a hoax, but it isn't.

I'm inclined to think that finding the Riemann sequence in traffic patterns is mere data mining, but what could be going on with the physics? And does it have to be a crystal ball and a ball bearing, or will other shapes and materials do the trick?

My tentative theory is that evenly divisible frequencies cancel out, leaving the primes behind. Two smart people have told me this sounds plausible, but I don't know enough to check on whether this theory makes sense.

First link thanks to andrewducker. I can't remember where I saw the video, but perhaps that's just as well considering how critical I am of it.

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From:subnumine
Date:February 24th, 2012 10:19 pm (UTC)
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You may be looking too deeply.

The Riemann zeta function, like the prime distribution function it generates, is one of a large class of functions (a specific one of interest to us). The long article you link to suggests that it, and the dynamics of a ball, both resemble the spacing of eigenvalues of a matrix; that is, that they are both fairly normal spectra; the only condition is that there is a cost for having roots too close, but overwise things are random.

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