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Concept# Viggo Brun

Summary

Viggo Brun (13 October 1885 – 15 August 1978) was a Norwegian professor, mathematician and number theorist.
In 1915, he introduced a new method, based on Legendre's version of the sieve of Eratosthenes, now known as the Brun sieve, which addresses additive problems such as Goldbach's conjecture and the twin prime conjecture. He used it to prove that there exist infinitely many integers n such that n and n+2 have at most nine prime factors, and that all large even integers are the sum of two numbers with at most nine prime factors.
He also showed that the sum of the reciprocals of twin primes converges to a finite value, now called Brun's constant: by contrast, the sum of the reciprocals of all primes is divergent. He developed a multi-dimensional continued fraction algorithm in 1919–1920 and applied this to problems in musical theory. He also served as praeses of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters in 1946.
Brun was born at Lier in Buskerud, Norway. He studied at the University of Oslo and began research at the University of Göttingen in 1910. In 1923, Brun became a professor at the
Technical University in Trondheim and in 1946 a professor at the University of Oslo.
He retired in 1955 at the age of 70 and died in 1978 (at 92 years-old) at Drøbak in Akershus, Norway.
H. Halberstam and H. E. Richert, Sieve methods, Academic Press (1974) . Gives an account of Brun's sieve.
C.J. Scriba, Viggo Brun, Historia Mathematica 7 (1980) 1–6.
C.J. Scriba, Zur Erinnerung an Viggo Brun, Mitt. Math. Ges.

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Related concepts (3)

Related lectures (2)

Sieve theory

Sieve theory is a set of general techniques in number theory, designed to count, or more realistically to estimate the size of, sifted sets of integers. The prototypical example of a sifted set is the set of prime numbers up to some prescribed limit X. Correspondingly, the prototypical example of a sieve is the sieve of Eratosthenes, or the more general Legendre sieve. The direct attack on prime numbers using these methods soon reaches apparently insuperable obstacles, in the way of the accumulation of error terms.

Brun sieve

In the field of number theory, the Brun sieve (also called Brun's pure sieve) is a technique for estimating the size of "sifted sets" of positive integers which satisfy a set of conditions which are expressed by congruences. It was developed by Viggo Brun in 1915 and later generalized to the fundamental lemma of sieve theory by others. In terms of sieve theory the Brun sieve is of combinatorial type; that is, it derives from a careful use of the inclusion–exclusion principle. Let be a finite set of positive integers.

Twin prime

A 'twin prime is a prime number that is either 2 less or 2 more than another prime number—for example, either member of the twin prime pair or In other words, a twin prime is a prime that has a prime gap of two. Sometimes the term twin prime is used for a pair of twin primes; an alternative name for this is prime twin' or prime pair. Twin primes become increasingly rare as one examines larger ranges, in keeping with the general tendency of gaps between adjacent primes to become larger as the numbers themselves get larger.

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