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Appears in collection : Jean-Morlet Chair - Conference - Arithmetic Statistics / Chaire Jean-Morlet - Conférence - Statistiques arithmétiques

We discuss Arithmetic Statistics as a 'new' branch of number theory by briefly sketching its development in the last 50 years. The non-triviality of the meaning of `random behaviour' and the problematic absence of good probability measures on countably infinite sets are illustrated by the example of the 1983 Cohen-Lenstra heuristics for imaginary quadratic class groups. We then focus on the Negative Pell equation, of which the random behaviour in the case of fundamental discriminants (Stevenhagen's conjecture) has now been established after 30 years. We explain the open conjecture for the general case, which is based on equidistribution results for units over residue classes that remain to be proved.

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