Dear Academic SE advisers,
I am a college sophomore in US with double majors in mathematics and microbiology. My algorithmic biology research got me passionate about the number theory and analysis, and I have been pursuing a mathematics major starting on this Spring semester. I have been independently self-studying the number theory textbooks written by Niven/Zuckerman/Montgomery, Apostol, and Ireland/Rosen on this semester. As this semester progressed, I discovered that I am more interested in the pure mathematics than applied aspects (computational biology, cryptography, etc.). I want to pursue a career as analytic number theorist and prove the Collatz conjecture and Erdos-Straus conjecture.
I have been thinking about doing the number-theory research on my university (research university; huge mathematics department). I have been self-studying the NT by myself and also regularly attending the professional and graduate seminars on number theory but I did not do any pure mathematics research as an undergraduate. Should I visit NT professors in my university and ask them about if I can do undergraduate research under them? If research is not possible (perhaps due to my lacking maturity), should I request of doing independent reading under them and later proceed with the research? How should I ask them? What should I address? If even independent reading is not desirable to them, what should I ask to them or do in my own?
As for my mathematical background, I have been taking Calculus II (computational) and discrete mathematics. I will be taking calculus III (vector calc.) on Summer, followed by Analysis I, Probability, Theoretical Linear Algebra on Fall 2015. As for my self-studying on this semester, I have been studying NT textbooks (mentioned above), proof methodologies, and basic linear algebra.
Thank you very much for your time, and I look forward to your advice!