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How to Free Your Inner MathematicianNotes on Mathematics and Life$
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Susan D'Agostino

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198843597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198843597.001.0001

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Join the community, with Hilbert’s twenty-three problems

Join the community, with Hilbert’s twenty-three problems

(p.117) 20 Join the community, with Hilbert’s twenty-three problems
How to Free Your Inner Mathematician

Susan D'Agostino

Oxford University Press

“Join the community, with Hilbert’s twenty-three problems” tells the story of German mathematician David Hilbert who, in 1900 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris, presented twenty-three problems in a first serious effort by any mathematician to curate a list of important open problems across mathematical subfields. In a speech accompanying his offering, he challenged mathematicians to solve all twenty-three problems in the next century. This chapter offers highlights and explanations of some of the twenty-three problems, including the Continuum Hypothesis, the Riemann Hypothesis, and Kepler’s Sphere-Packing Conjecture. With his broad reach, Hilbert understood the value of articulating community-wide mathematical goals, as well as the unifying effect that keeping score might have. Mathematics students and enthusiasts learn that they are part of a community of “zealous and enthusiastic disciples” of mathematics. At the chapter’s end, readers may check their understanding by working on a problem. A solution is provided.

Keywords:   Hilbert, twenty-three problems, math, student, Continuum Hypothesis, Riemann Hypothesis, Kepler

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