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HLF Blogs – Math ⇔ Art: what is a rotogon?

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

Alongside this week’s Laureate Forum, there’s an art exhibition on display in the nearby Old University building. Math ⇔ Art (Math is Art, Art is Math) is a collection of computer-generated artworks by Italian astrophysicist Aldo Spizzichino. In addition to a long career in research and many publications, Spizzichino has also produced an impressive quantity of mathematical art.

Using Fortran to generate computer graphics, Spizzichino has explored many mathematical shapes, structures and ideas through visual representation. The exhibit invites visitors to enjoy the mathematical forms for their own intrinsic beauty and, in Spizzichino’s words, ‘to complete the work with their own interpretation’.

919444¹⁰⁴⁸⁵⁷⁶ + 1 is prime

Distributed internet prime number search PrimeGrid has found a new largest generalised Fermat prime.

The discovery was made on 29th August, and was double-checked before being announced on 2nd September. PrimeGrid uses a distributed computing approach and uses spare computer time donated by volunteer computers connected to their network.

A generalised Fermat prime is a prime number of the form $a^{2^n} + 1$, with $a \gt 0$. It’s called ‘generalised’ because ‘Fermat prime’ is the name for the particular case $a=2$.

Much like Mersenne primes, there are special tests which make it much easier to check if a number of this form is prime than for a general number. For this reason, they’re a good place to look for new large primes.

Until now only 392 generalised Fermat primes had been found: this new discovery makes 393. At 6,253,210 digits long, it’s now the 12th largest of all known primes, and the second-largest known non-Mersenne prime.

PrimeGrid have put out an announcement in PDF format giving some more details about the search, and credits for the many people involved writing algorithms and providing computers to run them on.

The PrimeGrid homepage has more information about the many different prime number searches they run, and how to join in the search with your own PC.

Maths at the British Science Festival

The British Science Festival is organised annually by the British Science Association, and this year it’s hosted by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex from Tuesday 5 to Saturday 9 September. For more details and full listings, see the main British Science Festival website.

We’ve pulled out some of the mathematics-related events in the main programme – from theatre reproductions to puzzle workshops and plenty of talks and lectures, there’s something for everyone!

New YouTube videos by me and James Grime

I’ve been at it again, making videos for that YouTube – this time, a collabo with James Grime. We have each posted a video on the topic of a mathematical game, as we both had things we wanted to make videos about but nobody to play with, so we met up after school and made some YouTubes.

My video features two games which *SPOILER* turn out to have maths in them. I’m also doing a bit of a giveaway on Twitter, where you can win the actual cards used in the video (I will post them out in the IRL post mail), so reply to this tweet if you want a chance to win:

James has also posted his video, which is about a different game:

My YouTube channel
James’ YouTube channel

Landon Clay, founder of the Clay Mathematics Institute, has died

The Clay Mathematics Institute, home of the Clay Millennium Maths Prizes, has announced the sad death of its founder, Landon Clay. “Driven by a deep appreciation of the beauty and importance of mathematical ideas”, Clay donated generously to many organisations and projects, including the Institute which he founded in 1998.

Statement on the CMI website, including an addendum from Andrew Wiles

via @LondMathSoc