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Aperiodical News Roundup – January 2022

Here’s a roundup of some of the mathematical things that happened in the first month of the year.

Maths news

Donald Knuth has published an amendment to his book Concrete Mathematics in which he accepts Peter Luschny’s definition of the Bernoulli numbers, under which (among other things) the value of $B_1$ should really be $+\frac{1}{2}$, not $-\frac{1}{2}$, as outlined in Luschny’s Bernoulli Manifesto. CL-P wrote about this way back in Aperiodical Round Up 10. (via Russ Cox)

A long-standing conjecture about the Game of Life has been settled, Adam Goucher reports: there is a still-life that can’t be constructed by gliders. Two postdocs at the University of Turku, in Finland, have found the configuration below, has the property that, if it occurs within a universe at time $T$, it must have existed in that same position at time $T-1$ (and therefore, by induction, at time $0$).

Jason Kottke reports that Charles and Ray Eames’ 1977 short film Powers of Ten, a classic piece of science communication which showed objects at every scale from a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago to the outer edges of the universe and zooming out by a factor of 10 every 10 seconds, has been updated to reflect another 45 years of scientific discovery.

Books news

Nathaniel Johnston and Dave Greene have published a book about Conway’s Game of Life, which aims to “demystify the Game of Life by breaking down the complex patterns that have been developed in it into bite-size chunks that can be understood individually”. It’s available to download for free as a PDF, but a print version is coming soon. (via Rudy Rucker)

There’s a Kickstarter for Ben Orlin’s new book, Math Games with Bad Drawings (right). The book includes over 75 pen-and-paper games anyone can play, and Kickstarter editions will be signed and come with some bonus game cards. It’s also available to preorder in a variety of places, and will be out on 7th April.

Events and other news

Imperial College London is running the London Learning Lean seminar, aimed at formalising undergrad-to-research level mathematics in the Lean theorem prover. Sessions will aim to spend half of the time on describing some maths and the other half on formalising it in Lean. The seminar will take place in person at Imperial on Thursdays at 4pm (GMT) and be streamed live via Zoom. (via Kevin Buzzard)

Sadly, this month we lost algebraic topologist Fred Cohen (via Selman Akbulut) and statistician David Cox (via David Spiegelhalter).

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