James Maynard: Prime Numbers
James Maynard became a Junior Research Fellow (Fellow by Examination) at Magdalen in 2014. He is a pure mathematician who works in an area called number theory – the study of properties of whole numbers. In particular, he is interested in the distribution of prime numbers. At Magdalen his research focuses on using techniques from sieve theory to understand the gaps between prime numbers. Sieve theory uses mathematical techniques to estimate the size of groups of numbers that are not easily countable using brute force methods.
Some of James’ recent work has been on showing the existence of very small gaps between primes, and of the existence of very large gaps between primes. For example, in the image to the right the primes 37, 41, 43 and 47 and separated by three numbers or less, where as 83, 89 and 97 are separated by more than five numbers. He is now a Professor of number theory in the Mathematical Institute, Oxford.