We previously reported a Cambridge screening of the Travelling Salesman Movie, the “intellectual thriller about four of the world’s smartest mathematicians hired by the U.S. government to solve the most elusive problem in computer science history — P vs. NP”. Now the movie is being screened in London, by the City University London Student Union Computing Society (whose website charmingly has a command line interface). This will take place at City University London on the 18th of April 2013 at 6pm.
Here is the trailer:
Buy tickets (“Pay as you wish – £4 suggested Minimum”)
Travelling Salesman Movie official site
Interview with writer and director Timothy Lanzone on the Math/Maths Podcast.
The Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics, the Eötvös Loránd University and the János Bolyai Mathematical Society have announced a conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Paul Erdős from 1st-5th July 2013 in Budapest, Hungary.
I have moved my blog Travels in a Mathematical World to The Aperiodical!
Cambridge News is reporting that “maths whizz” and Cambridge maths masters graduate William Hartston has devised a system for predicting the winner at the Grand National on Saturday. Apparently he “looked at the number of letters in a horse’s name and the name’s first letter, the number of words the name contains and the horse’s age”. His system scores horses on a scale of up to 16 points; horses with one-word names beginning with the letters S, R, M or C and consisting of eight or 10 letters score well. The system apparently also takes age into account, which seems reasonable, but not the many other factors you might expect.
Hartston is quoted saying that Seabass is favourite to win as “the only horse with consistently high scores across all four criteria as it begins with S, is a one-word name, aged 10 years and has seven letters which is only slightly short of the preferred eight”. In fact, two horses scored 13 points, but Seabass has been chosen over Tatenen due to the mysterious claim “the latter’s scoring pattern was not as consistent as that of the former”. I’m unsure if this means that Tatenen’s name has changed.
And the work was “commissioned” by William Hill.
So far, so nonsense formula based on spurious correlations, but is that all there is to it? I always find it hard to believe that these stories are written or published, but there is something about Hartston as a source that seems especially strange.
Since the start of the year, the Math/Maths Podcast has been on hiatus. I’m very much enjoying the extra thesis-writing time but apparently this has left some missing their regular mathematical listen. Not infrequently I get an email from someone wishing me well with my thesis and asking when we’ll be back podcasting. Well, nature abhors a vacuum and here are three offerings that I’m aware are working to fill the void. (Oh, and “pale imitations” – I’m joking, of course!)
My Aperiodical co-conspirators Katie Steckles and Christian Perfect started All Squared, a maths magazine podcast, in February. The description for the first episode (or “number”, as Katie and Christian have it) overtly points out the “unusual paucity of maths podcasts at the moment” and promises “a half-hour podcast featuring maths, guests, puzzles and links from the internet”. The name is designed to be recognisable to mathematicians, who might find themselves reporting that an expression is “all squared”. As someone who named a podcast as overtly as it is possible to be, “Math/Maths”, this obfuscation amuses me. The three episodes so far have been enjoyable with a guest and main topic in each. As far as I’m concerned, this is far more the Aperiodical podcast that should exist than is The Aperiodcast with that third guy.
This one started just before Samuel Hansen and I went on our hiatus, but if you enjoyed the teaching aspects of what we did you can get a lot more on the theme from Craig Barton and his guests on the TES Maths Podcast. Craig promises “to share the latest news, resources and ideas that are relevant to secondary/high-school maths teachers and general number enthusiasts”.
Wrong, but Useful is a new podcast featuring “a mathematical conversation” between Colin Beveridge and Dave Gale that sets out its stall as a response to the lack of Math/Maths episodes. The title is another nod to the mathematically minded without being overt, referring to a quote from George Box and Norman Draper who wrote “essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful” (Empirical Model-Building and Response Surfaces, 1987). Episode 1 sees Colin and Dave finding their feet in a rambling, wide-ranging mathematically-themed discussion. There were a couple of awkward moments that gave me Math/Maths early episode flashbacks but I’m looking forward to Colin and Dave getting into the swing for the next episode.
After what has so far been an inexplicably fruitful morning of mathematical revelations, the mathematical world is now reeling after yet another long-standing mathematical question has been answered. While we are still reeling from the shock resignation of Aperiodical editor Christian Perfect, whose presence on the site will be sadly missed, our obligation is still to report the mathematical news.
The Continuum Hypothesis, originally posed by set theorist Georg Cantor in 1878, states that there is no set whose cardinality is between that of the integers and that of the real numbers. While this statement has been proved undecidable (that is, a proof has been given that it is impossible to prove the truth or falsehood of the result using the standard logical axioms), one of our authors has succeeded in determining that in fact a set of such intermediate size does exist. The proof is ground-breaking and so impressively concise that any attempt at verifying it would be, frankly, a waste of time.
The author, the Aperiodical’s own Katie Steckles, is now in the running for a Fields Medal, or International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics. If the award were to be made, Steckles would become the first female mathematician to be awarded such an honour.
Read the ground-breaking paper here: A disproof of the Continuum Hypothesis
Mark today in your diary because it’s turning out to be quite a day for revolutionary mathematical results. Hold on to your online credit card transactions, ladies and gentlemen, because Colin Beveridge, maths tutor and sometime Aperiodical contributor, has this morning published his discovery of the largest prime number.
A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. It was long thought that there were infinitely many primes, but of course those of us who properly understand infinity know that it goes on forever and there is surely no way to check every case. Beveridge’s result overturns this long held belief by showing that a largest single prime exists.
A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. One consequence of Beveridge’s result is that every number greater than $11!+1$ is a composite number, and can therefore be represented as the product of two or more (not necessarily distinct) primes.
Beveridge says he plans to submit the new result as part of a multi-million pounds research grant application to exhaustively search all the numbers up to $11!+1$, in order to compile a list of all possible prime numbers.
Original paper: BREAKING NEWS: Largest prime discovered.