As well as being an excellent monthly pub-based meeting, MathsJam also has an annual conference, which takes place every November. Registration is now open for the 2013 conference, which takes place on 2nd and 3rd November.
MathsJam is an opportunity for like-minded self-confessed maths enthusiasts to get together in a pub and share stuff they like. Puzzles, games, problems, or just anything they think is cool or interesting. The annual conference is a weekend of lightning talks, where you can show or demonstrate something you want to share, followed by lengthy coffee breaks for conversation and socialising. And coffee.
Details about the conference, as well as the chance to register and secure your place, can be found at the MathsJam conference website.
This number of the All Squared podcast contains the final third of our interview with the inestimable David Singmaster, and then a bit from CP about his favourite book, “A treatise on practical arithmetic, with book-keeping by single entry“, by William Tinwell.
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It seems that big mathematical advances are like buses – you wait ages for one, and then two come along at once. Also revealed yesterday was a proof of the odd Goldbach conjecture: that all odd numbers greater than 7 can be written as the sum of exactly three odd primes. The proof is contained in Major arcs for Goldbach’s theorem, a paper submitted to the arXiv by Harald Helfgott, who’s a mathematician at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. This new paper completes the work started in Helfgott’s previous paper, Minor arcs for Golbach’s problem, published last year.
The strong Goldbach conjecture states that every even number can be written as the sum of two primes. This is still unproven, and remains one of the long-standing unproven results in number theory. Sadly, it’s the opinion of Terence Tao, among others, that the method used to prove the weak conjecture probably won’t work on the strong conjecture.
The paper: Major arcs for Goldbach’s theorem by Harald Helfgott
via Terry Tao on Google+
“The author has succeeded to prove a landmark theorem in the distribution of prime numbers. … We are very happy to strongly recommend acceptance of the paper for publication in the Annals.”
According to the Nature News blog, at yesterday’s seminar given by Yitang Zhang it was revealed that his proof that there are infinitely many pairs of primes less than seventy million apart has already been refereed for the Annals of Mathematics; that’s a quote from the referee’s report above.
It seems the proof doesn’t use any unconventional machinery (in contrast to Mochizuki’s Proof from Planet 9 of the abc conjecture) and is fairly uncontroversial. How pleasant! Of course, someone might find a problem with it once it’s publicly available, but that’s the way for all things.
Source: First proof that infinitely many prime numbers come in pairs at Nature News
Update 14/05/2013: The seminar was successful: Zhang announced that his proof has already been refereed for the Annals, and everyone seems happy with it.
Hard Maths news now: there’s a rumour going round that Yitang (Tom) Zhang of the University of New Hampshire reckons he can prove that there are infinitely many different pairs of primes at most 70,000,000 apart.
Good maths books are simultaneously plentiful and rare. While there are a few classics almost everyone knows about and has copies of (Gardner, Hardy, etc.), the trade in lesser-known maths books is considerably less well-organised. Very few bookshops have well-stocked maths sections, and insipid pop maths books dominate. Unless you hear about a good maths book through word of mouth, you’ll often only encounter it once it’s ended up in a second-hand bookshop, usually a refugee from an emptied maths department library.
But books, more than anything else, are where the beauty of maths really manifests itself. It’s where ideas are presented most clearly, after they’ve had time to percolate through a few more brains. We talked to David Singmaster, professor of maths and metagrobologist, about his favourite maths books.
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Some grad students at Carnegie Mellon had a fun idea: what if each slide in a presentation was made by a different person, based only on the previous slide?
Being grad students and thus having nothing better to be getting on with, they did just that, and nominated one of their number to deliver the resulting presentation without having seen any of the slides in advance.
Watch the video below. Prepare to hear lots of nerdy giggling.
via Haggis the Sheep on Twitter