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Not mentioned on The Aperiodical this month, May 2016

Here are a few of the stories that we didn’t get round to covering in depth this month.

Turing’s Sunflowers Project – results

Manchester Science Festival’s mass-participation maths/gardening project, Turing’s Sunflowers, ran in 2012 and invited members of the public to grow their own sunflowers, and then photograph or bring in the seed heads so a group of mathematicians could study them. The aim was to determine whether Fibonacci numbers occur in the seed spirals – this has previously been observed, but no large-scale study like this has ever been undertaken. This carries on the work Alan Turing did before he died.

The results of the research are now published – a paper has been published in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal, and the findings indicate that while Fibonacci numbers do often occur, other types of numbers also crop up, including Lucas numbers and other similarly defined number sequences.

Messiaen’s “Quartet for the end of time”, animated by Simon Russell and Marcus du Sautoy

Marcus du Sautoy has teamed up with animator Simon Russell to create this animatino to accompany Messiaen’s Quartet for the end of time. It’s got all the usual arty maths things in it – the Fibonacci sequence and golden ratio, prime numbers, polygons and polyhedra of all sorts – as well as the less well-trodden sporadic group $M_{12}$. It all comes together quite nicely, though I much prefer the elegant end to the spiky-frenetic start.

There’s a page describing all the maths ideas to be found in the video at Sinfini Music.

via Marcus du Sautoy and Sinfini Music on Twitter

Riemann Hypothesis not proved


Here’s a tweet from Alex Bellos this morning:

He’s right to be surprised – as reported in Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper:

The 156-year old Riemann Hypothesis, one of the most important problems in Mathematics, has been successfully resolved by Nigeria Scholar, Dr. Opeyemi Enoch.

Suspicion levels are raised, as the paper also reports:

Three of the [Clay Millenium Prize] problems had been solved and the prizes given to the winners. This makes it the fourth to be solved of all the seven problems.

Unless we missed something, that’s not massively true – the only Millennium Prize problem solved so far is the Poincaré conjecture.

Podcasts for a university mathematics student

Yesterday, I was asked by Mariana Farinha for podcasts I would recommend to a college student of Mathematics. I assume this is college in the American sense, i.e. university. Though targetting an audience is usually a broad business, so with a suitable margin of error I replied with a few, retweeted the request and a few others replied. Here are the suggestions. What would you recommend? Leave a comment!