Today is International Women’s Day, so we’ve taken a moment to think about the woman mathematicians in our lives.
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There’s been a lot of maths news this month, but we’ve all been too busy to keep up with it. So, in case you missed anything, here’s a summary of the biggest stories this month. We’ve got two new facts about primes, the best way of packing spheres in lots of dimensions, and the ongoing debate about the place of maths in society, as well as the place of society in maths.
A surprisingly simple pattern in the primes
Kannan Soundararajan and Robert Lemke Oliver have noticed that the last digits of adjacent prime numbers aren’t uniformly distributed – if one prime ends in a 1, for example, the next prime number is less likely to end in a 1 than another odd digit. Top maths journos Evelyn Lamb and Erica Klarreich have both written very accessible pieces about this, in the Nature blog and Quanta magazine, respectively.
Oliver and Soundararajan’s paper on the discovery is titled “Unexpected biases in the distribution of consecutive primes”.
Today marks computing and maths pioneer Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday. In celebration we’ve rounded up a few Ada-based links from around the internet.
Ada Lovelace was a 19th-century mathematician and early computer scientist, during an era when it was uncommon for women to do such things, and worked alongside Charles Babbage. His incredible Analytical Engine, an early mechanical calculator, was studied by Ada and her most enduring work is an article she wrote about the engine and its mathematical potential.
An Australian sanitary pad company has hit upon a witty tagline for their product:
Literally thousands of people have signed a petition to tell Libra that that’s not OK.
Mary Ellen Rudin, one of the pioneers of set-theoretical topology, passed away this week. She was 88.
Calvin Smith tweeted this morning to tell us that today is International Women’s Day, and took the opportunity to remind his followers of some of the women in the mathematical sciences.
Stealing his idea Following his lead, we thought we would write a post on the theme.
The Aperiodical is of course a pro-everybody enterprise all year round, but it doesn’t hurt to take some time to remind ourselves of the fact that women are just as capable as men of contributing to the field of maths. Incredibly, some people still don’t think this is the case!
The London Mathematical Society have released a report ‘Advancing women in mathematics: good practice in UK university departments‘. The LMS is “concerned about the loss of women from mathematics, particularly at the higher levels of research and teaching, and at the missed opportunities that this represents”.