We introduce a method for showing that there exist prime numbers which are very close together. The method depends on the level of distribution of primes in arithmetic progressions. Assuming the Elliott-Halberstam conjecture, we prove that there are infinitely often primes differing by 16 or less. Even a much weaker conjecture implies that there are infinitely often primes a bounded distance apart. Unconditionally, we prove that there exist consecutive primes which are closer than any arbitrarily small multiple of the average spacing, that is,
We will quantify this result further in a later paper.