You're reading: News Roundup

Aperiodical News Roundup – July 2022

Here’s a roundup of some mathematical news we didn’t yet report from the last month.

The makers of documentary film ‘Olga Ladyzhenskaya’, detailing the life of the Russian mathematician, have released a five-minute trailer giving a flavour of the film. (via ICM Intelligencer)

From the Olga Ladyzhenskaya trailer

Research

According to a new ArXiV paper, the triple bubble conjecture (a result about the shapes taken by surfaces that are attempting to enclose a volume, or in this case three volumes, with minimal surface area) has been solved. (via Ian Agol)

The Lean community, who use and blog about the Lean proof assistant, have announced completion of the liquid tensor experiment – proving the main theorem of liquid vector spaces (me neither) and thereby formalising a big serious proof using the system. (via David Eppstein)

In computer science, a new ArXiV paper takes us a step closer to automating quantitative reasoning – Minerva, a large language model pre-trained on general natural language data and technical content, has correctly solved some college-level questions that “require quantitative reasoning”.

Awards

Photograph of the four 2022 Fields Medalists sitting in a row at the award ceremony
2022 Fields Medalists (L-R: Maryna Viazovska, James Maynard, June Huh, and Hugo Duminil-Copin) Photo: HLFF

A big month for prizes, with the announcement of the 2022 Fields medals, awarded to Hugo Duminil-Copin, June Huh, James Maynard and Maryna Viazovska, as well as the 2022 Christopher Zeeman medal, which has been awarded to Simon Singh.

Aperiodical News Roundup – June 2022

Community News

The Spectra Math (@LGBTMath) account has announced that the AMS (American Mathematical Society) has instituted a new policy, based on consultations with Spectra, concerning author name changes. The policy is intended to make its journals more inclusive, especially of trans and non-binary researchers. The policy seeks to provide a simple and efficient way for authors to update their name on published articles in a minimally intrusive way that respects the author’s privacy.

‘Author Name Changes’, on the AMS website

The Eindhoven University of Technology has advertised a post for a Full Professor in Applied Algebra and Geometry, which for the first six months of being advertised will only be open to female candidates. The post is part of the Irène Curie Fellowship program, which is dedicated to reaching at least 30% female researchers on TU/e’s permanent academic staff by 2024.

Job advert: Full Professor in Applied Algebra and Geometry

Igalia, contributors to digital maths writing standard MathML, have announce their intent to ship MathML support in Chromium going forward. They claim this announcement is a big step towards having MathML support enabled in Chromium (and hence Chrome) by default. (via Deyan Ginev on Twitter).

Despite previous big promises, the UK government has failed to deliver a promised £300m in funding for pure maths research, as revealed in a recent meeting of the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee. It’s covered in this Times Higher Ed article (paywalled), or you can watch the proceedings on Parliamentlive.tv (via Protect Pure Maths on Twitter).

Maths Developments

Scientists in Japan have built a tiny Möbius strip from carbon nanotube building blocks (New Scientist article).

In a paper titled ‘The Next 350 Million Knots’, mathematician Benjamin A. Burton at The University of Queensland has enumerated all knots up to 19 crossings, meaning we now have a total of 352152252 known distinct non-trivial prime knots (only infinity to go!) (via Ian Agol).

Google’s Emma Haruka Iwao, architect of a previous large π digit calculation record announcement in 2019, is at it again: the 100 trillionth digit of π in base 10 has been revealed to be (spoiler alert) 0. According to a post on the Google Blog, the calculation took over 157 days and processed around 82,000 terabytes of data.

Events

The ICMS (International Centre for Mathematical Sciences) in Edinburgh has instituted a visiting fellow in music, with the inaugural recipient being Julien Lonchamp, an orchestral composer who has scored a number of short films.

He is interested in how sound and music work at the interface with other disciplines, including visual art and science. He aims to create novel immersive “sound-worlds” by combining a wide range of composition processes in order to communicate abstract or complex ideas.

ICMS press release

If you enjoyed this news item, check out his Soundcloud.

Since these news items are saved up for the end of the month, we can exclusively reveal that registration for the virtual ICM (International Congress of Mathematics) 2022 is both open, and already full. Luckily all lectures will be recorded and made available online afterwards.

And finally

Screenshot from the video, showing a person juggling three partly-solved cubes next to a timer
Photo: Guinness World Records

The most important news item of the month was that Guinness has announced the world record for solving three Rubik’s cubes while juggling them was recently smashed by Colombian 19-year-old Angel Alvarado. There’s a video of the new record solve, which took 4:31.01 (beating Angel’s own previous record of 4:52.43, set in May 2021).

Aperiodical News Roundup – April 2022

Here’s a round-up of the mathematical and maths-adjacent news stories we saw in the month of April.

Proof News

(Image: Quanta Magazine)
Jinyoung Park and Huy Tuan Pham

The Kahn-Kalai conjecture, a result from graph theory, has been proved in this ArXiV paper by Stanford mathematicians Jinyoung Park (a former postdoc of Abel prize winner Avi Widgerson) and Huy Tuan Pham. Here’s the writeup in Quanta magazine for those who want a good lay summary, a news piece about it on the Princeton IAS website, and a response from Gil Kalai about his conjecture being proved. (via Thomas Bloom)

Quanta have also covered the proof of the Van der Waerden conjecture, a result about polynomial roots, by Fields medalist Manjul Bhargava.

Big particle physics model news – a recent measurement of the mass of the W-boson doesn’t match the standard model, suggesting the theory may need some refinement.

Other maths news

Gömböc - Wikipedia
A Gömböc wobbles but can’t fall down

The supreme court of Hungary has ruled that the Gömböc can’t be trademarked – despite its mathematical interestingness, it’s considered a decorative object apparently. (via David Eppstein on mathstodon)

I, Mathematicians is a new Twitter account which will be run by a different mathematician each week. There’s a signup form on that initial post, and this week it’s Dr Kimberley Ayers.

The most appropriate news we could possibly cover: there’s an Aperiodic Tiling conference and exhibition taking place at the Open University in June this year, in honour of the late Professor Uwe Grimm.

According to this tweet by Sidney Padua, her excellent book The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage will now be available in opera form. Following a preview show this month, the opera will premiere in Boston in 2023.

And finally

Georgia Benkart
(photo: Wikipedia)

American mathematician Georgia Benkart has died (PDF), after a long career in research on representation theory and Lie algebras, publishing over 130 journal articles and making major contributions to the field.

British-Canadian mathematician and computer scientist John McKay, discoverer of monstrous moonshine and the McKay correspondence, also passed away this month.

Aperiodical News Roundup – March 2022

Here’s a roundup of mathematical things that have happened in March 2022.

Aperiodical News Roundup – February 2022

Here’s a roundup of mathematical things that have happened in February 2022.

Ukraine

The deeply troubling and developing situation in Ukraine has implications for the 2022 International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) due to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia in July. A group of Ukrainian mathematicians has issued a call for mathematicians to boycott the event. National organisations around the world have been issuing statements setting out their positions, standing down their participation and calling on the International Mathematical Union to not hold the event as planned. Here are some we spotted:

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) itself wrote to its member organisations expressing its deep concern, acknowledging the calls and saying it is assessing the situation.

Other news

The organisers of the Gathering 4 Gardner recreational maths conference have announced that this year’s event, taking place in April, will be a hybrid event with 50% discount for online-only places, making them a snip at $200. Registration is restricted to previous attendees and invitees, but it is possible to nominate yourself or someone else for an invitation.

Casualties of the recent storms in the UK apparently also include Newton’s apple tree – not the actual tree an apple fell on his head from, but scions of the original are planted all over the UK and one of the ones at Cambridge, which was planted in 1954, hasn’t survived the combined effects of Storm Eunice and gravity. More info in this excellent Twitter thread.

The Royal Statistical Society has released a report entitled Behind the numbers: The RSS puts the statistical skills of MPs to the test, in which they report the results of asking an anonymous unspecified group of Labour and Conservative MPs a series of simple stats and probability questions. The survey concluded that while MPs performed better than they did in a similar test ten years ago, their stats skills were still sub-par. It may not be as unambiguous as the research seems to claim though – Rob Eastaway has thoughts about the questions used.

Prizes

Dr. Matilde Lalín (photo: CMS)

Canadian number theorist Dr. Matilde Lalín is to receive the Krieger-Nelson prize, awarded since 1995 by the Canadian Mathematical Society to recognise outstanding contributions in the area of mathematical research by a female mathematician. (via Jordan Ellenberg)

Maryam's Magic

The winners of the 2022 Mathical book prize, an annual award for fiction and nonfiction books that inspire children of all ages to see maths in the world around them, have been announced. The winners look to include some lovely titles, including Maryam’s Magic – the story of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani – and the fantastic-sounding Uma Wimple Charts Her House. (via Jordan Ellenberg)

And finally

If you like that kind of thing, you can buy a bunch of cheap maths puzzle book PDFs in a Humble Bundle (via Adam Atkinson). And if you like proof assistants, there’s now a Proof Assistants Stack Exchange.

Aperiodical News Roundup – January 2022

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

Google+