### How to cut queues at immigration – with maths

Credit: Shutterstock When going on holiday to a foreign country, there’s one part of the journey that everybody dreads: border control. Everyone has to have their passport checked by an immigration official when entering a new country – and even when leaving some – so queues are almost inevitable. At Heathrow airport – one of…

### Mathematicians solve age-old spaghetti mystery

Credit: CC0 Public Domain If you happen to have a box of spaghetti in your pantry, try this experiment: Pull out a single spaghetti stick and hold it at both ends. Now bend it until it breaks. How many fragments did you make? If the answer is three or more, pull out another stick and…

### Did you solve it? The mystery of Cherry's lottery ball

Update: Several readers spotted a mistake in the setting of the puzzle. Apologies. (Prem, who set the puzzle, responds below the line). This is the first time in more than three years that I’ve set a puzzle with such an issue. In order to stop this happening again, if anyone would like to be a…

### One individual behind A-level maths paper leak, says exam board

One person was allegedly the source of a leak of an A-level maths paper this summer, an exam board has said. In addition, five students have been disqualified and a further 30 are being investigated over their involvement, according to Pearson. Investigations were launched in June after an A-level maths paper was leaked just before…

### Can you solve it? The mystery of Cherry's lottery ball

Hi guzzlers Of the many types of puzzle I have posed over the years, the genre that readers seem to respond to best are “common knowledge” logic puzzles. In these problems, there is a situation involving at least two people, each of whom has incomplete information about each other, and the solver makes successive deductions…

### Mathematician discusses solving a seemingly unsolvable equation

The mathematical equation. Credit: WWU/Raimar Wulkenhaar After 10 years, Prof. Raimar Wulkenhaar from the University of Münster’s Mathematical Institute and his colleague Dr. Erik Panzer from the University of Oxford have solved a mathematical equation which was considered to be unsolvable. The equation is to be used to find answers to questions posed by elementary…

### Kurdish refugee wins 'Nobel of mathematics' Fields medal (Update)

German mathematician Peter Scholze—shown here in a handout picture released by the University of Bonn—was named one of four winners of mathematics’ prestigious Fields medal, often known as the Nobel prize for math Kurdish refugee turned Cambridge University professor Caucher Birkar and an Italian who once preferred football to math on Wednesday were among four…

### Statistics, computer science students collaborate on real-world data problems through mini-think tanks

What is the difference between statistics and data science—and, perhaps more importantly, why do we have two fields with what seems to be the same focus? The best way to understand the emergence of data science as a separate discipline, explains Herman “Gene” Ray, director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Research at Kennesaw…

### Big changes at economic census will provide new insights into US economy

Every five years, the US Census Bureau conducts an economic census, providing official benchmark measures of American business and the economy. Despite being less well-known than the population census, the economic census—based on a representative sample of approximately 4 million businesses from about 400 industries—is vital to understanding how the nonagricultural sectors of the US…