Mathematical Trio Advances Centuries-Old Number Theory Problem

"Earlier this year, a trio of mathematicians decided to make lemons into lemonade — and ended up making major headway on a problem that mathematicians have been thinking about for centuries.

The three were just finishing a project and thinking about next steps when, late in March, two of them — Levent Alpöge of Harvard University and Ari Shnidman of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem — contracted Covid-19, separately but nearly simultaneously. Many people would take a break under such circumstances, but the third team member, Manjul Bhargava of Princeton University, proposed the opposite. Ramping up their weekly Zoom meetings to three or four times a week, he suggested, might distract his ailing collaborators from their symptoms. Quarantine, the three decided, could be an opportunity to think undisturbed."

Read more at Quanta.