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This video about the proof of the Kelmans-Seymour conjecture is adorable

Theorem: every 5-connected non-planar graph contains a subdivision of $K_5$.

The above statement, conjectured independently by Alexander Kelmans and Paul Seymour in the 70s, is very easy to say. And the video below, starring Dawei He, Yan Wang, and Xingxing Yu, makes it look very easy to prove:

It’s like they got Wes Anderson to film an academic PR video. In the normally uninspiring world of maths press releases, it’s quite refreshing. And the written press release is pretty snappy, too. Let’s not make this a thing, though.

Zaha Hadid’s design for the Science Museum’s new maths hall is certainly something

For a while, the Science Museum has been forming groups and making noises and tickling rich people with the aim of working out how they’re going to update their rather neglected maths hall. Yesterday they made an unexpectedly positive announcement: they’ve been given £5 million by rich people David and Claudia Harding, and Dame Zaha Hadid has drawn up a swooshy new design.


This just in! Important research from mathematicians at the university of Sheffield (in particular, category theorist Eugenia Cheng) has determined the correct proportions of jam and cream to use when creating a jam and cream scone. As the Aperiodical’s cake correspondent, my duty is to report these significant results.

Deck the halls with τ of holly, formula-la-laaa!

Christmas is a time for giving, celebrating, family and magic. But did you know it’s also a time for equations? Department store Debenhams has decided to honour this recent Christmas tradition by tasking at least two members of Sheffield University’s undergraduate maths society to come up with formulae for ‘a perfectly decorated Christmas tree‘, picked up by The Sun, The Metro and others.

Christmas Tree

Photo by Aleksandar Cocek, used under a Creative Commons licence.

Previous festive howlers include ‘the formula for the perfect family Christmas‘ (sponsored by The Children’s Society to promote a book) and a prior stab at ‘the equation for the ideal Christmas tree‘ (sponsored by B&Q), which are just nonsensical strings of abbreviations. However, unlike those examples of naff-ematics, the Sheffield tree-decorating equations make enough sense for me to take a critical, overly-serious look at them on their own merits, and show how you might begin to come up with something more rational.