11.10.2016 (Tuesday)

An operator for the zeros of the Riemann zeta function

Regular Seminar Dorje Brody (Brunel)

15:00 City U.
room B103

The Riemann hypothesis asserts that the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function should be of the form 1/2 + i E_n, where the set of numbers {E_n} are real. The so-called Hilbert-Pólya conjecture assumes that {E_n} should correspond to the eigenvalues of an operator that is Hermitian. The discovery of such an operator, if it exists, thus amounts to providing a proof of the Riemann hypothesis. In 1999 Berry and Keating conjectured that such an operator should correspond to a quantisation of the classical Hamiltonian H = xp. Since then, the Berry-Keating conjecture has been investigated intensely in the literature, but its validity has remained elusive up to now. In this talk I will derive a “Hamiltonian” (a differential operator), whose classical counterpart is H = xp, having the property that with a suitable boundary condition on its eigenstates, the eigenvalues {E_n} correspond to the nontrivial zeros of the Riemann zeta function. This Hamiltonian is not Hermitian, but is symmetric under space-time reflection (PT symmetric) in a special way. A formal argument will be given for the construction of the metric operator to define an inner-product space for the eigenstates, and the formally “Hermitian" counterpart Hamiltonian. The talk is based on the work carried out in collaboration with Carl M. Bender (Washington University) and Markus P. Müller (University of Western Ontario).