A Number Theorist Who Solves the Hardest Easy Problems

Quanta magazine profiles James Maynard who made a breakthrough that led to the little-known twenty-six-year-old's rapid ascent to the top of his field, analytic number theory.

Maynard suspected that it might be possible to make progress on understanding prime gaps using a decade-old method for filtering primes: “I kept on getting these sort of small signals that there was something there to be understood and discovered. ... I really wanted to keep on going until I could come up with a way of explaining what I’d seen.”

He came up with a completely independent and powerful approach to understanding small gaps between primes that applies not just to pairs of primes, but to triples, quadruples, and bigger collections. Maynard was a Member in the School of Mathematics in 2017.

Read more at Quanta.