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Much ado About Noether

Calvin Smith tweeted this morning to tell us that today is International Women’s Day, and took the opportunity to remind his followers of some of the women in the mathematical sciences. Stealing his idea Following his lead, we thought we would write a post on the theme.

The Aperiodical is of course a pro-everybody enterprise all year round, but it doesn’t hurt to take some time to remind ourselves of the fact that women are just as capable as men of contributing to the field of maths. Incredibly, some people still don’t think this is the case!

Open Season – The Perfect Cuboid

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 second article in the series, and considers a less well-known variant on an extremely well-known problem.

Ask anyone to name a theorem, and they’ll probably come up with one of the really famous ones, like Pythagoras’ theorem. This super-handy hypotenuse fact states that for a triangle with sides A, B and C, where the angle between A and B is a right angle, we have $C^2 = A^2 + B^2$. This leads us on to a nice bit of stamp-collecting – there are infinitely many triples of integers, A, B and C, which fit this equation, called Pythagorean Triples.

One well-known generalisation of this is to change the value $2$ to larger values, and go looking for triples satisfying $C^n = A^n + B^n$. But don’t – Andrew Wiles spent a good chunk of his life on proving that you can’t, for any value of $n>2$, find any such triples. The statement was originally made by Pierre De Fermat, and while Fermat famously didn’t write down a proof, it was the last of his mathematical statements to be gifted one – hence the name ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem’ – and proving it took over 350 years.

Carnival of Mathematics 96

The next issue of the Carnival of Mathematics, rounding up blog posts from the month of February, is now online at Math Mama Writes.

The Carnival rounds up maths blog posts from all over the internet, including some from our own Aperiodical. For more information about the Carnival of Mathematics, click here.

All Squared, Number 1: Maths out loud

We’ve been quietly making plans and gathering material for a new project over the past couple of weeks, after noticing that there’s an unusual paucity of maths podcasts at the moment. Well, that exciting new project is now happening, and it’s a half-hour podcast featuring maths, guests, puzzles and links from the internet. It’s called All Squared, and it’ll contain cringe-inducing intro/ending contrivances, interesting guest interviews on topical and other subjects, and a panoply of mathematical curiosities.

This is the first number of the podcast (we thought ‘episode’ would set unrealistic expectations of regularity, and we can never resist a pun). It includes an interview with Edmund Harriss about spoken mathematics, as well as a puzzle which we’ll give the answer to in the next number, and a great mathematical flash game to keep you occupied until that appears.


Competition to visualise open government data

Who loves data? If we’re talking about the android from Star Trek: TNG, then I do, and if we’re talking about the thing that’s not the plural of anecdotes, then I’m pretty sure the answer is everyone.

If you love data, then you’ll definitely love visualising data, and Google have teamed up with the Open Knowledge Foundation to launch a data-visualising competition. Nobody has more data than… well, Google, but second in that race is Governments, and the world’s governments are releasing a massive shedload of open data for people to play with.