Friend of the Aperiodical Samuel Hansen has launched a Kickstarter to fund a second series of his maths podcast Relatively Prime. The first series was successfully funded in 2011 and consisted of eight hour-long episodes telling “stories from the mathematical domain”, including interviews with Tim Gowers, Matt Parker, David Spiegelhalter and more.
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The big news last year was the quest to find a lower bound for the gap between pairs of large primes, started by Yitang Zhang and carried on chiefly by Terry Tao and the fresh-faced James Maynard.
Now that progress on the twin prime conjecture has slowed down, they’ve both turned their attentions toward the opposite question: what’s the biggest gap between subsequent small primes?
Jordan Ellenberg is an algebraic geometer at the University of Wisconsin and a blogger at Slate. His book How Not To Be Wrong was new when he sent The Aperiodical a copy to review ages ago.
Group theorists, often interested principally in the abstract, have been known to neglect the vital importance of producing funky gizmos that exhibit the symmetries they have theorized about. Internet maths celeb Vi Hart, working with mathematician Henry Segerman, has addressed this absence in the case of $Q_8$, the quaternion group. The object they’ve designed is four-dimensional and made of monkeys, and they’ve done the closest thing possible to making one, which is to 3D-print an embedding of it into our three-dimensional universe, also made of monkeys. Their ArXiv preprint (pdf) is well worth a read, and when you get to the photos of the resulting sculpture (entitled “More fun than a hypercube of monkeys”), you’ll fall off your chair.
The Quaternion Group as a Symmetry Group by Vi Hart and Henry Segerman, on the ArXiv.
Nothing Is More Fun than a Hypercube of Monkeys at Roots of Unity, including an animated gif of a virtual version of the sculpture rotating through 4D-space.
Henry Segerman’s homepage
Vi Hart’s home page
Every year, the Eurovision Song Contest brings with it fresh accusations that the results are affected more by politics than music. But how much of the outcome is in fact determined by mathematics?
Mathematician and author Professor Ian Stewart, helped by Touch Press and his publisher Profile Books, has recently released a new app for iOS (suitable for use on an iPad) called Incredible Numbers. We saw this tweet:
I highly recommend Incredible Numbers, iPad app by Ian Stewart. New gold standard for interactive maths. For all. https://t.co/bI9YfUpViP
— Alex Bellos (@alexbellos) March 31, 2014
and how could we resist? We borrowed a nearby iPad, downloaded the app and had a play.
Note: If you’re looking for instructions on solving Rubik’s cube from any position, there’s a good page at Think Maths.
One day some years ago I was sat at my desk idly toying with the office Rubik’s cube. Not attempting to solve it, I was just doing the same moves again and again. Particularly I was rotating one face a quarter-turn then rotating the whole cube by an orthogonal quarter-turn like this:
Having started with a solved cube, I knew eventually if I kept doing the same thing the cube would solve itself. But this didn’t seem to be happening – and I’d been doing this for some time by now. This seemed worthy of proper investigation.