“I’m gonna put a curse on you and all your kids will be born completely naked”*…
* Jimi Hendrix
As we remark that an acorn never falls far from the tree, we might spare a thought for Christian Goldbach; he died on this date in 1764. A mathematician, lawyer, and historian who studied infinite sums, the theory of curves and the theory of equations, he is best remembered for his correspondence with Leibniz, Euler, and Bernoulli, especially his 1742 letter to Euler containing what is now known as “Goldbach’s conjecture.”
In that letter he outlined his famous proposition:
Every even natural number greater than 2 is equal to the sum of two prime numbers.
It has been checked by computer for vast numbers– up to at least 4 x 1014– but remains unproved.
(Goldbach made another conjecture that every odd number is the sum of three primes; it has been checked by computer for vast numbers, but remains unproved.)
Goldbach’s letter to Euler (source, and larger view)