Math puzzle goes viral

The puzzle. Credit: University of Huddersfield A University of Huddersfield lecturer has puzzled the world. Ed Southall already had a big following for the maths posers that he posts online and publishes in book form. But his latest conundrum has gone globally viral. Deceptively simple, it is a pink triangle inside a square, accompanied…

Amateur mathematician partially solves 60-year-old problem

The 1581-vertex, non-4-colourable unit-distance graph G. Credit: arXiv:1804.02385 [math.CO] Professional biologist and amateur mathematician Aubrey de Grey has partially solved the Hadwiger-Nelson problem, which has vexed mathematicians since 1950. He has published a paper describing the solution on the arXiv preprint server. The Hadwiger-Nelson problem came about when Edward Nelson and Hugo Hadwiger wondered about…

New study improves 'crowd wisdom' estimates

Aaron Leventman estimates how many beads are in the jar. Credit: Scott Wagner via Santa Fe Institute In 1907, a statistician named Francis Galton recorded the entries from a weight-judging competition as people guessed the weight of an ox. Galton analyzed hundreds of estimates and found that while individual guesses varied wildly, the median of…

Can you solve it? The hipster bicycle race

Hi guzzlers, Today, a spring selection of bite-sized brain food. 1) Two hipsters, Atticus and Abe, were arguing about whose electronic bicycle was the slowest. They decided to race them along a 100m track. They agreed that the bike reaching the finish line last would be the winner. The guys got on their bikes on…

Why prime numbers still fascinate mathematicians, 2,300 years later

Primes still have the power to surprise. Credit: Chris-LiveLoveClick/shutterstock.com On March 20, American-Canadian mathematician Robert Langlands received the Abel Prize, celebrating lifetime achievement in mathematics. Langlands’ research demonstrated how concepts from geometry, algebra and analysis could be brought together by a common link to prime numbers. When the King of Norway presents the award to…