University of Connecticut

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Math Club
Why The IRS Cares About The Riemann Zeta Function And Number Theory (And Why You Should Too!)
Steven J. Miller (Williams)

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
5:45pm – 6:35pm

Storrs Campus

Many systems exhibit a digit bias. For example, the first digit base 10 of the Fibonacci numbers or of $$2^n$$ equals 1 about 30% of the time; the IRS uses this digit bias to detect fraudulent corporate tax returns. This phenomenon, known as Benford's Law, was first noticed by observing which pages of log tables were most worn from age -- it's a good thing there were no calculators 100 years ago! We'll discuss the general theory and applications, talk about some fun examples (ranging from hiding messages in images to the $$3x+1$$ problem to the Riemann zeta function as time permits), and discuss some current open problems suitable for undergraduate research projects.

Note: Join the meeting at


Keith Conrad

Math Club (primary), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UConn Master Calendar

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