BHSU Geek Speak to examine mathematical problem worth $1 million

Dr. Parthasarathi Nag, professor of mathematics, will discuss the famous Riemann's Hypothesis, a mathematical problem that has remained unsolved for over 150 years, during the BHSU Geek Speak lecture Thursday, Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110 in Spearfish. All Geek Speaks are free and open to the public.

For 158 years, no human or computer has been able to prove the Riemann Hypothesis. This elusive hypothesis will be the topic of Dr. Parthasarathi Nag's, professor of mathematics, Geek Speak lecture, "Searching for Riemann: A brief history and some recent insights into one of the most intriguing unsolved million-dollar problem in mathematics" on Nov. 16 at 4 p.m. at Black Hills State University in Spearfish. Audience members will learn the history behind the Riemann Hypothesis and why the quest to find a solution is important.

The quest to solve this problem has evolved over time and the solution is worth $1 million from the Clay Mathematics Institute. Riemann's hypothesis became a mathematical problem in 1859 when Bernhard Riemann, a German mathematician, began investigating the distribution of prime numbers. He set out to discover a pattern and solve the mystery of, "given an integer N, how many prime numbers are there that are smaller than N?" according to his 1859 paper. While there have been intensive efforts to prove this hypothesis, it has yet to be proven or disproven by those studying math, physics, and even quantum mechanics.

Nag suspects that we may not have enough understanding or the resources yet to solve this problem in his lifetime. He compares it to Einstein's theory of relativity, published in 1916. It wasn't until 2016 that Einstein's theory of the existence of gravitational waves (caused by the collision of massive objects in space) was confirmed by scientists at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO).

This and future Geek Speak lectures are held Thursdays at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 110.  Scheduled presentations for this semester are:
  • Nov. 30: University Honors Capstone Defenses
  • Dec. 7: University Honors Capstone Defenses
To read short descriptions of each lecture topic, visit

For more information, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of the University Honors Program and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or email