Physics and Number Theory

I’m going to try and avoid being sniped by a topic which came up today: Riemann Gas.  This is a really neat toy model in statistical mechanics where the particles are prime numbers and the partition function is the Riemann Zeta function.  John Baez has a nice bit on it in entry 199 of This Week’s Finds.  I downloaded some papers to DropBox and filed them away under ‘Reading list’ hoping that I’ll get to them soon.  The topic of physics and number theory really surprised me a couple of months ago when Simon learned about the Geometric Langlands program (a whole lot of hard everything) which is where it’s believed that physics may be able to make contributions to number theory.  I’m not a fan of number theory, nothing particular, just not my flavor of primordial mathematical reality.  I’ve got to say however that when i now think of primes as something you can second-quantize (another skill to learn) I become much more excited.

Oh and I’m also avoiding the temptation to read more…much more, about Functional Integration which Shea Browne mentioned in a recent post of his.  Statistical Mechanics, and more importantly, its foundations are something of great interest to me.

For now, back to 2-Cobordisms!


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