Volume 1

断层  / 

fault  / 

然而  / 

however  / 

平移  / 

translation  / 

对流  / 

convection  / 

近日点  / 

perihelion  / 

裂缝  / 

crack  / 

门廊  / 

porch  / 


edge  / 

质数  / 

prime  / 

填充  / 

fill  / 


wait  / 

折叠  / 

fold  / 


narrow  / 


family  / 

平行  / 

parallel  / 

扉页  / 

title page  / 

窗口  / 

window  / 


rent  / 

喧哗  / 

clamor  / 


line segment

Volume 1

断层 / 

fault / 

然而 / 

however / 

平移 / 

translation / 

对流 / 

convection / 

近日点 / 

perihelion / 

裂缝 / 

crack / 

门廊 / 

porch / 


edge / 

质数 / 

prime / 

填充 / 

fill / 


wait / 

折叠 / 

fold / 


narrow / 


family / 

平行 / 

parallel / 

扉页 / 

title page / 

窗口 / 

window / 


rent / 

喧哗 / 

clamor / 

线段 / 

line segment / 





Sixing Xu


Artist currently based in Beijing. She sometimes translates and writes




语言的语言提问:一无所有 ≠ 0,≠1,= 2 × 2,且2 ≠ 2。求:2和2。

那一年,欧洲之星倒行在漆黑的隧道,我腹背受敌,一面是质数的难题,一面是语言的。物理学家的书我买了两本,一本在纽约,一本在北京。某天之后,除了那个密码之外的一切都豁然开朗了,我再也没翻开过那本书 1

Prime numbers are spies: the first is 2, the last is 1907. Once all the calculations are in, the Italian quantum physicist’s novel stops at 8.0 for now. Two twisted zeroes smooth as planes, perpendicular to infinity. Reading this, one’s lips confront a kind of obliteration: b, 2, multiplied by 2, 2 cubed. The enemy has nowhere to hide, the enemy is easy to understand.   Behind every encryption machine lurks an infinite multitude of infinitely large prime numbers. Nothing other than themselves can divide (÷) them apart, making them difficult to decrypt, even invincible. Two primes make a coprime, a tautological statement with an overtone: prime numbers have only enemies. Every modern cipher that relies on prime numbers for encryption is a war machine.   But physicists are the very same people who believe prime numbers are steeped in solitude and grievances. When the cipher is broken and prime numbers are left stark naked, they remain a major mystery of pure mathematics: how much distance can you put between enemies? They are adamant that there exists a fixed distance whereby the mark of the enemy becomes a twinned kin. As such, they never forget that on either end of the coordinate system are the language of math and the language of language, staring at each other in dismay.   The language of language proposes: To have nothing at all ≠ 0, ≠1, = 2 × 2, thus 2 ≠ 2. Find: 2 and 2.   That year, as the Eurostar went retrograde through the pitch-black tunnels, I was attacked by enemies from both sides, the conundrum of prime numbers on one side, language on the other. I’d bought two copies of the physicist’s book, one in New York, one in Beijing. A few days later, I was suddenly enlightened about everything apart from the cipher. I never opened that book again. 1  

  1. 保罗·乔尔达诺,《质数的孤独》。在小说中,“孪生质数”这个数学概念被赋予了一种情感的因子。相差为2的“相邻”质数对,即(p, p+2),被认为是一对孪生质数,例如3和5,5和7。但随着数字增大,孪生质数也越来越少见,“孤独而失落”。是否存在无穷多对孪生质数?这是数论领域的一个百年未解的难题——孪生质数猜想。
  1. Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers. In the novel, the mathematical concept of “twin primes” is given an emotional factor. Pairs of “neighboring” prime numbers that differ by 2, namely (p, p+2), are considered twin primes, such as 3 and 5, 5 and 7. But as numbers grow larger, twin primes become more and more uncommon, “lonely and lost.” Are there infinite pairs of twin primes? This is a puzzle that has remained unresolved in number theory for over a hundred years—the twin prime conjecture