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Open Season: Prime Numbers (part 2)

In this short series of articles, I’m writing about mathematical questions we don’t know the answer to – which haven’t yet been proven or disproven. This is the third article in the series, and across two parts will discuss various open conjectures relating to prime numbers. This follows on from Open Season: Prime numbers (part 1).

So, we have a pretty good handle on how prime numbers are defined, how many of them there are, and how to check whether a number is prime. But what don’t we know? It turns out, quite a lot.

Solids of Constant Width now available from Maths Gear

If you like your shapes to be of constant width, friends of the Aperiodical Matt Parker and Steve Mould, who run Maths Gear, have long been the market leader in selling you flat 2D shapes which have the same diameter no matter which direction you measure in (well, them and the Royal Mint). But if you prefer your shapes to be of constant width in three dimensions, you can now satisfy those urges too at MathsGear.co.uk.

They’ve just launched a new product, which is a handsome set of yellow solids of constant width (for those interested, they’re not the standard Reuleaux triangle-based solid of revolution commonly sold – they’re Meissner Tetrahedra). A set of three, which allows you to test the constant width property by rolling them between a table and a book, is yours for £15, with free delivery in the UK. Tables and books sold separately.

Buy: Maths Gear website.

via Steve Mould on Twitter

Open Season: Prime Numbers (Part 1)

In this short series of articles, I’m writing about mathematical questions we don’t know the answer to – which haven’t yet been proven or disproven. This is the third article in the series, and across two parts will discuss various open conjectures relating to prime numbers.

I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that prime numbers are the building blocks of numbers. They’re the atoms of maths. They are the beginning of all number theory. I’ll stop there, before I turn into Marcus Du Sautoy, but I do think they’re pretty cool numbers. They crop up in a lot of places in maths, they’re used for all kinds of cool spy-type things including RSA encryption, and even cicadas have got in on the act (depending on who you believe).

Not Mentioned on the Aperiodical this month, 21 August

Here are three things we noticed this month which didn’t get a proper write-up, due to thesis/Edinburgh fringe/holidays: a big proof, a fun maths book club, and a ridiculous bit of pi-related madhattery.

Manchester MathsJam recap, August 2013

BSIXMx5IUAEYSqNThis month we had a few new faces, and plenty of regulars. We also had someone’s first MathsJam, and someone’s last (in the UK): Manchester regular Nicolette brought along her 6-week old baby Julia, who experienced her first recreational maths night in a pub, and by this time next month Nicolette will be back in her native New Zealand (obviously, setting up a new MathsJam there).

Carnival of Mathematics #101: Prime Numbered Special Edition

Carnival of Mathematics LogoWelcome to the 101st edition of the Carnival of Mathematics. The Aperiodical took over running the Carnival when it launched in April 2012, at Carnival 85. Although it’s conventional to celebrate round number anniversaries (and even though I’m left-handed), we decided for a combination of reasons not to make a big deal out of Carnival 100 – instead inviting maths author Richard Elwes to host it on his blog – and instead to make the more exciting number 101 into our big celebration of how long the Carnival’s been running.

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