The idea of finding a self-adjoint operator whose spectrum corresponds to the zeros of Riemann zeta function isn’t new. It was suggested as a possible approach in 1912 at the latest, although most of the evidence to suggest that it might be true didn’t appear until the 1950s and 1970s. Nowadays, there are all sorts of conjectures connecting spectra of random Hermitian matrices and automorphic forms, including the Riemann zeta function.
Could these authors be on the right track? Maybe. But people have been digging along these lines for a while—this strikes me as more likely to be incremental progress than some sort of brilliant breakthrough.