In 1937 Vinogradov showed that every sufficiently large odd number is the sum of three primes, using bounds on the sums of additive characters taken over the primes. He was improving, rather dramatically, on an earlier result of Schnirelmann, which showed that every sufficiently large integer is the sum of at most 37 000 primes. We discuss a natural analogue of this question in the multiplicative group (Z/pZ)* and find that, although the current unconditional character sum technology is too weak to use Vinogradov's approach, an idea from Schnirelmann's work still proves fruitful. We will use a result of Selberg-Delange, an application of a small sieve, and a few easy ideas from additive combinatorics.
- Junior Number Theory Seminar