Communications in Number Theory and Physics

Volume 9 (2015)

Number 1

Transcendental equations satisfied by the individual zeros of Riemann $\zeta$, Dirichlet and modular $L$-functions

Pages: 1 – 50



Guilherme França (Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.)

André Leclair (Department of Physics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, U.S.A.)


We consider the non-trivial zeros of the Riemann $\zeta$-function and two classes of $L$-functions; Dirichlet $L$-functions and those based on level one modular forms. We show that there are an infinite number of zeros on the critical line in one-to-one correspondence with the zeros of the cosine function, and thus enumerated by an integer $n$. From this it follows that the ordinate of the $n\,$th zero satisfies a transcendental equation that depends only on $n$. Under weak assumptions, we show that the number of solutions of this equation already saturates the counting formula on the entire critical strip. We compute numerical solutions of these transcendental equations and also its asymptotic limit of large ordinate. The starting point is an explicit formula, yielding an approximate solution for the ordinates of the zeros in terms of the Lambert $W$-function. Our approach is a novel and simple method, that takes into account $\arg L$, to numerically compute non-trivial zeros of $L$-functions. The method is surprisingly accurate, fast and easy to implement. Employing these numerical solutions, in particular for the $\zeta$-function, we verify that the leading order asymptotic expansion is accurate enough to numerically support Montgomery’s and Odlyzko’s pair correlation conjectures, and also to reconstruct the prime number counting function. Furthermore, the numerical solutions of the exact transcendental equation can determine the ordinates of the zeros to any desired accuracy. We also study in detail Dirichlet $L$-functions and the $L$-function for the modular form based on the Ramanujan $\tau$ -function, which is closely related to the bosonic string partition function.

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