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Stanisław Ulam biopic

There's going to be a biopic of physicist/mathematician Stanisław Ulam, titled Adventures of a Mathematician.

Hollywood seems to be working its way through 20th century mathematicians – off the top of my head, there have recently been biopics of John Nash, Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking and Srinivasa Ramanujan. What I want to know is, when do we get Michael Sheen playing John Horton Conway?

There's some information about Adventures of a Mathematician, starring Jakub Gierszal as Ulam, at ScreenDaily.

via MathFeed on Twitter.

Not mentioned on The Aperiodical, December 2017

Here’s a round-up of some stories from what’s now terrifyingly last year.

$2^{77,232,917}-1$ is the new $2^{74,207,281}-1$

We now know 50 Mersenne primes! The latest indivisible mammoth, $2^{77,232,917}-1$, was discovered by Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search user Jonathan Pace on the 26th of December 2017. As well as being the biggest Mersenne prime ever known, it’s also the biggest prime of any sort discovered to date.

GIMPS works by distributing the job of checking candidate numbers for primality to computers running the software around the world. It took over six days of computing to prove that this number is prime, which has since been verified on four other systems.

Pace, a 51-year old Electrical Engineer from Tennessee, has been running the GIMPS software to look for primes for over 14 years, and has been rewarded with a \$3,000 prize. When a prime with over 100 million digits is found, the discoverer will earn a \$50,000 prize. That probably won’t be for quite a while: this new prime has $23{,}249{,}425$ decimal digits, just under a million more than the previous biggest prime, discovered in 2016.

If you’re really interested, the entire decimal representation of the number can be found in a 10MB ZIP file hosted at Spoiler: it begins with a 4.

More information: press release at, home of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search.

via Haggis the Sheep on Twitter

Particularly mathematical New Years Honours 2018

When the UK Government announces a new list of honours, we (let’s be honest – sometimes) write up a list of those particularly mathematical entries. Here is the selection for the 2018 New Years Honours list.

  • Howard Groves, Member, Senior Mathematical Challenge Problems Group and Member, UK Mathematics Trust Challenges Sub Trust. OBE, for services to Education.
  • Christl Donnelly FRS, Professor of Statistical Epidemiology, Imperial College London. CBE, for services to Epidemiology and the Control of Infectious Diseases.
  • Ben Goldacre, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford and author of Bad Science. MBE, for services to Evidence in Policy.
  • Andrew Morris, Professor of Medicine, Director of the Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, and Vice-Principal Data Science, University of Edinburgh. CBE, for services to Science in Scotland.
  • Stephen Sparks, lately Professorial Research Fellow, University of Bristol and former chair of ACME. Knighthood, for services to Volcanology and Geology. (Via The Mathematical Association.)
  • Bernard Silverman, lately Chief Scientific Adviser, Home Office and former President of the Royal Statistical Society (RSS). Knighthood, for public service and services to Science. (Via Hetan Shah.)
  • John Curtice, Professor of Politics, University of Strathclyde and Senior Research Fellow, NatCen Social Research, and Honorary Fellow, RSS. Knighthood, for services to the Social Sciences and Politics. (Via Hetan Shah.)
  • Diane Coyle, Professor of Economics, University of Manchester. CBE, for services to Economics and the Public Understanding of Economics. (Via Hetan Shah.)

Get the full list here. If you spot any others we should mention, please let us know in the comments.

AMS Communication Awards

Photo of Vi Hart: M Eifler, 2017 (CC by 4.0). Photo of Matt Parker: Steve Ullathorne

Photo of Vi Hart: M Eifler, 2017 (CC by 4.0). Photo of Matt Parker: Steve Ullathorne

The American Math Society’s Joint Policy Board for Mathematics has announced the winners of its 2018 Communication award. This year’s winners are internet maths wizard/YouTube star Vi Hart, and Aperiodipal and Stand-up Mathematician Matt Parker.

Both produce brilliant, enjoyable and illuminating mathematical videos (Vi Hart, Matt Parker), as well as numerous other projects – Vi Hart has worked with Khan Academy, produced online interactive mathematical stories, and done some super work on hyperbolic/4D virtual reality, while Parker performs with science comedy team Festival of the Spoken Nerd, has started the MathsJam pub maths movement, has written a popular maths book, and appears regularly on TV and radio.

The award includes a prize of $2,000, and aims to encourage high-quality communicators of mathematics. We think they’ve made a good choice!

More information

News post on the AMS website
About the AMS JPBM Communication prize

2018 Christopher Zeeman Medal nominations open

LMS/IMA Christopher Zeeman Medal

The IMA/LMS Zeeman Medal has been awarded every two years since 2008, to an individual, to “recognise and acknowledge the contributions of mathematicians involved in promoting mathematics to the public and engaging with the public in mathematics in the UK, and demonstrate that such activities are valued by the societies and the mathematical community at large and are a part of a mathematician’s roles and responsibilities”. The nomination process is now open for 2018, and details of eligibility and how to make a nomination are at the link below.

Christoper Zeeman Medal award, on the LMS website