If you pay attention to United States politics you have probably noticed that mathematics is currently enjoying a rare moment of relevance. You probably also know this is not happening because all of a sudden politicians have decided that mathematics is clearly the coolest thing in the world, even though it clearly is, but instead… Read more »

# Review: Closing the Gap, by Vicky Neale

Did you read Cédric Villani’s Birth of a Theorem? Did you have the same reaction as me, that all of the mentions of the technical details were incredibly impressive, doubtless meaningful to those in the know, but ultimately unenlightening? Writing about maths, especially deep technical maths, so that a reader can follow along with it… Read more »

# Are you more likely to be killed by a meteor or to win the lottery?

This tweet from the QI Elves popped up on my Twitter timeline: The odds of being crushed by a meteor are considerably lower (i.e. more likely) than those of winning the jackpot on the National Lottery. — Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) January 11, 2018 In the account’s usual citationless factoid style, the Elves state that you’re… Read more »

# Not mentioned on The Aperiodical, December 2017

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

# Carnival of Mathematics 153

The next issue of the Carnival of Mathematics, rounding up blog posts from the month of December, and compiled by the team, is now online at Ganit Charcha. The Carnival rounds up maths blog posts from all over the internet, including some from our own Aperiodical. See our Carnival of Mathematics page for more information.

# $2^{77,232,917}-1$ 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… Read more »

# I’ve re-recorded Alan Turing’s “Can Computers Think?” radio broadcasts

On the 15th of May 1951 the BBC broadcast a short lecture by the mathematician Alan Turing under the title Can Computers Think? This was a part of a series of lectures on the emerging science of computing which featured other pioneers of the time, including Douglas Hartree, Max Newman, Freddie Williams and Maurice Wilkes…. Read more »