In 1919 Viggo Brun showed that the sum of the reciprocals of the twin primes (pairs of prime numbers which differ by 2) converges to a mathematical constant now called Brun's constant for twin primes and usually denoted by B2 (sequence A065421 in OEIS):
in stark contrast to the fact that the sum of the reciprocals of all primes is divergent. Had this series diverged, we would have a proof of the twin primes conjecture. But since it converges, we do not yet know if there are infinitely many twin primes. His sieve was refined by J.B. Rosser, G. Ricci and others.
By calculating the twin primes up to 1014 (and discovering the infamous Pentium FDIV bug along the way), Thomas R. Nicely heuristically estimated Brun's constant to be 1.902160578. The best estimate to date was given by Pascal Sebah in 2002, using all twin primes up to 1016:
- B2 ≈ 1.902160583104
There is also a Brun's constant for prime quadruplets. A prime quadruplet is a pair of two twin prime pairs, separated by a distance of 4 (the smallest possible distance). The first prime quadruplets are (5, 7, 11, 13), (11, 13, 17, 19), (101, 103, 107, 109). Brun's constant for prime quadruplets, denoted by B4, is the sum or the reciprocals of all prime quadruplets:
- B4 = 0.87058 83800 ± 0.00000 00005.
This constant should not be confused with the Brun's constant for cousin primes, prime pairs of the form (p, p + 4), which is also written as B4.
See also: twin prime, twin prime constant, twin prime conjecture, Meissel-Mertens constant
- Nicely's article on twins enumeration and Brun's constant http://www.trnicely.net/twins/twins2.html
- Computation of Brun's constant http://numbers.computation.free.fr/Constants/Primes/twin.html
Last updated: 04-25-2005 03:06:01