Kannan Soundararajan, Stanford University

Primes Fall for the Gambler’s Fallacy

The gambler’s fallacy is the erroneous belief that if (for example) a coin comes up heads often, then in the next toss it is more likely to be tails. In Dr. Soundararajan’s recent work with Robert Lemke Oliver, they found that funnily enough, the primes exhibit a kind of gambler’s fallacy: for example, consecutive primes do not like to have the same last digit. Dr. Soundararajan will show some of the data on this, and explain what their research leads them to believe is happening.

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Kannan Soundararajan, Stanford University

sSoundararajanKannan Soundararajan, “Sound” to his friends, is Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University since 2006.  He grew up in Chennai, attended school in Nungambakkam in Madras (now Chennai), India, attended the prestigious Research Science Institute and represented India at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1991, winning a silver medal.

He earned his doctorate at Princeton University, under the guidance of Peter Sarnak, where he held a prestigious Sloan Foundation Fellowship.

His work includes proving a conjecture of Ron Graham’s in combinatorial number theory jointly with Ramachandran Balasubramanian. He made important contributions in settling the arithmetic Quantum Unique Ergodicity conjecture for Maass wave forms and modular forms.