Ramanujan summation and the Casimir effect


  • Wolfgang Bietenholz Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, UNAM




Ramanujan summation, Casimir effect, renormalization, Dark Energy


Srinivasa Ramanujan was a great self-taught Indian mathematician, who died a century ago, at the age of only 32, one year after returning from England. Among his numerous achievements is the assignment of sensible, finite values to divergent series, which correspond to Riemann's $\zeta$-function with negative integer arguments. He hardly left any explanation about it, but following the few hints that he gave, we construct a direct justification for the best known example, based on analytic continuation. As a physical application of Ramanujan summation we discuss the Casimir effect, where this way of removing a divergent term corresponds to the renormalization of the vacuum energy density, in particular of the photon field. This leads to the prediction of the Casimir force between conducting plates, which has now been accurately confirmed by experiments. Finally we review the discussion about the meaning and interpretation of the Casimir effect. This takes us to the mystery surrounding the magnitude of Dark Energy.


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How to Cite

Bietenholz W. Ramanujan summation and the Casimir effect. Supl. Rev. Mex. Fis. [Internet]. 2022 Mar. 31 [cited 2022 Dec. 3];3(2):020705 1-6. Available from: https://rmf.smf.mx/ojs/index.php/rmf-s/article/view/6095