Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer obituary

Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, who has died aged 91, is famous among mathematicians as one author of the Birch-Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture in number theory. Published in 1965, this was immediately influential, becoming even more prominent in 1999 as one of the Clay Mathematics Institute’s seven million dollar Millennium Prize Problems, alongside the Riemann hypothesis. Swinnerton-Dyer’s first published paper…

Research explains public resistance to vaccination

Social imitation dynamics of vaccination can exhibit hysteresis. This figure illustrates a hysteresis loop in relation to outbreaks of measles and other childhood diseases in Europe and North America. Credit: Feng Fu and Xingru Chen. Why is it so challenging to increase the number of people who get vaccinated? How does popular resistance to vaccination…

Did you solve it? 2019 in numbers

Earlier today I set you the following puzzles about the number 2019 1) Date jam (i) Using only the digits 2, 0, 1 and 9, create expressions that equal all of the numbers from 0 to 12. The expressions can include any of the arithmetical symbols +, –, x, ÷ and √, and brackets. Here’s…

Can you solve it? 2019 in numbers

To welcome the New Year, we’re going to celebrate the number 2019. Here’s one numerical factoid readers may find charming: Ed Southall (@solvemymaths) 2019 is the smallest number that can be written in 6 ways as the sum of the squares of 3 primes: 7² + 11² + 43² = 2019 7² + 17² +…

Did you solve it? Can you speak Twitter?

Earlier today I set you a quiz about Twitter slang, and a maths puzzle. Here are the answers, with discussion and workings! The following ten words and phrases emerged in Twitter communities, and are beginning to cross over to general users. Under each word or phrase are two possible definitions. Which is the correct one?…