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HLF Blogs – Math ⇔ Art: the Gosper curve

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

Running alongside the 5th HLF is an exhibition of mathematical art by the astrophysicist Aldo Spizzichino. He’s taken ideas from mathematics, and used his own set of programs (in Fortran, no less) to produce his images, a couple of dozen of which are on display in the Old University building a few steps from the forum. Although all the pieces were generating discussion as I looked round the exhibition on Sunday morning, I’ve picked two to talk a bit about, both based on the same piece of maths.

HLF Blogs – Vint Cerf’s press conference: in quotes

This week, Katie and Paul are blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum – a week-long maths conference where current young researchers in maths and computer science can meet and hear talks by top-level prize-winning researchers. For more information about the HLF, visit the Heidelberg Laureate Forum website.

© Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation / Kreutzer – 2017

Vint Cerf, who along with Robert E Kahn won the ACM Turing Award in 2004 for his work on the TCP/IP protocols underpinning the Internet, is one of the Laureates at this year’s HLF. On Friday he’ll be giving a lecture on an ‘Interplanetary Internet’, the protocols needed to deal with the unique challenges posed by telecommunications in space. But on Monday afternoon he chatted to a small group of journalists and bloggers on a wide variety of topics. With apologies for anything I’ve mangled, here’s a short selection of quotes from the man himself.

Review: ‘Power-Up: Unlocking the Hidden Mathematics in Video Games’ by Matthew Lane

Power-Up: Unlocking the Hidden

We’ve been sent a copy of Matthew Lane’s Power-Up: Unlocking the Hidden Mathematics in Video Games, and despatched Aperiodical regular and video game fan Paul Taylor to review it.

Review: The Mathematics of Secrets by Joshua Holden

Any book on cryptography written for a more-or-less lay audience must inevitably face comparisons to The Code Book, written in 1999 by Simon Singh, the king of distilling complex subjects to a few hundred pages of understandable writing. While Singh’s book is a pretty thorough history of codes and codebreaking1 through the centuries with plenty of the maths thrown in, The Mathematics of Secrets is tilted (and indeed titled) more towards a fuller explanation of the mathematical techniques underlying the various ciphers. Although Holden’s book follows a basically chronological path, you won’t find too much interest in pre-computer ciphers here: Enigma is cracked on page seventy, and the name Alan Turing does not appear in the book.

  1. I will in this review unapologetically make no attempt to maintain any distinction between the terms code and cipher; cryptography, cryptanalysis and codebreaking, etc. []

Binary/Nail Varnish Puzzle – solution

Previously, we posted about Katie’s Binary Nail varnish tutorial video, and how you can use glitter (1) and no glitter (0) to encode binary messages in your nail varnish. We also posted an accompanying puzzle, stated as:

Suppose I want to paint my nails on one hand differently every day for a month – so I need to use all 31 combinations involving glitter. Assuming that a nail painted with plain varnish can have glitter added, but a nail with glitter needs to be nail-varnish-removed before it can become a plain nail again, what order do I apply the different combinations so that you minimise the amount of nail varnish remover I’ll need to use?

Here’s our take on the solution.

Just how big is a big proof?

With news that a recent proof of the Boolean Pythagorean Triples Theorem is the ‘largest proof ever’, we collect and run-down some of the biggest, baddest, proofiest chunks of monster maths.

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