Origins and definition
In 1919, Ramanujan published a new proof of Bertrand's postulate which, as he notes, was first proved by Chebyshev. At the end of the two-page published paper, Ramanujan derived a generalized result, and that is:
where is the prime-counting function, equal to the number of primes less than or equal to x.
The converse of this result is the definition of Ramanujan primes:
- The nth Ramanujan prime is the least integer Rn for which for all x ≥ Rn. In other words: Ramanujan primes are the least integers Rn for which there are at least n primes between x and x/2 for all x ≥ Rn.
The first five Ramanujan primes are thus 2, 11, 17, 29, and 41.
Note that the integer Rn is necessarily a prime number: and, hence, must increase by obtaining another prime at x = Rn. Since can increase by at most 1,
Bounds and an asymptotic formula
For all , the bounds
hold. If , then also
where pn is the nth prime number.
As n tends to infinity, Rn is asymptotic to the 2nth prime, i.e.,
- Rn ~ p2n (n → ∞).
All these results were proved by Sondow (2009), except for the upper bound Rn < p3n which was conjectured by him and proved by Laishram (2010). The bound was improved by Sondow, Nicholson, and Noe (2011) to
which is the optimal form of Rn ≤ c·p3n since it is an equality for n = 5.
- Ramanujan, S. (1919), "A proof of Bertrand's postulate", Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society, 11: 181–182
- Jonathan Sondow. "Ramanujan Prime". MathWorld.
- Sondow, J. (2009), "Ramanujan primes and Bertrand's postulate", Amer. Math. Monthly, 116 (7): 630–635, arXiv:0907.5232, doi:10.4169/193009709x458609
- Laishram, S. (2010), "On a conjecture on Ramanujan primes" (PDF), International Journal of Number Theory, 6 (8): 1869–1873, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.639.4934, doi:10.1142/s1793042110003848.
- Sondow, J.; Nicholson, J.; Noe, T.D. (2011), "Ramanujan primes: bounds, runs, twins, and gaps" (PDF), Journal of Integer Sequences, 14: 11.6.2, arXiv:1105.2249, Bibcode:2011arXiv1105.2249S