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Hedetniemi’s Conjecture in graph theory disproved

In Quanta Erica Klarreich recently wrote up Yaroslav Shitov’s new counter example which disproves Stephen Hedetniemi’s 50 year old conjecture, original dissertation, that the number of colors required to color the tensor product of two graphs is the lesser of the numbers used to color the original graphs. These colorings have applications in areas from scheduling to seating plans, and it is clear from Klarreich’s reporting that mathematicians are excited about this result. In fact, Hedetniemi responded very positively when asked by Klarreich about the counter example, saying it “has a certain elegance, simplicity and definitive quality to it.” The counter-example may show Hedetniemi’s conjecture is not true, but Klarreich points out that we do not yet know just how false it is. So, while Shitov has closed one door on this problem, there are still many which are open.

via Thomas Lin on Twitter.

Maths World UK has almost reached its funding target

The UK’s nascent maths exploratorium, Maths World UK, has secured match funding for any donations made towards setting up the museum, to the tune of £125,000 – this means if they can raise that amount of money, a donor will double it. They’re now within £20,000 of the target, and need your donations to close the gap.


The project has been in development for a few years now, but until they have enough funding they won’t be able to set up a permanent centre. If a museum of mathematics in the UK is something you’d like to see, you can use the links below to donate, or find out more about the project.

Donation Page at GoldenGiving
MWUK website

YouTube video with James Grime and Maths World UK CEO Katie Chicot:

Particularly mathematical Birthday Honours 2019

With the announcement the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, it’s time for the latest in our ongoing Honours-watch series of posts. In this, we search arbitrarily for a few maths-related terms in the list, and hope our well-informed readers fill in the blanks where actual knowledge is required.

  • Sir Peter Donnelly, Chief Executive, Genomics plc and Professor of Statistical Science, University of Oxford. Knighted for services to the Understanding of Human Genetics in Disease.
  • Ken Brown, Professor of Mathematics, University of Glasgow. Appointed CBE for services to the Mathematical Sciences.
  • Sylvia Richardson, Director, Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge. Appointed CBE for services to Medical Statistics.
  • Max Parmar, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology and Director, MRC Clinical Trials Unit, University College London. Appointed OBE for services to Medical Research and Clinical Trials.
  • Arnold Black, Historian and Statistician, Scottish Athletics. Appointed MBE for services to Athletics.
  • Elizabeth Buttigieg, Executive Officer, UK Statistics Authority. Appointed MBE services to Pensioners, Veterans and the community in Newport, Wales.
  • Duncan Lawson, Co-Director sigma, Coventry University. Appointed MBE for services to Mathematics in Higher Education.
  • Peter Ransom. Appointed MBE for voluntary service to Mathematics Education.
  • Lauren Shea. Awarded BEM for services to Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to Young People.
  • Jess Wade, Research Physicist, Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London. Awarded BEM for services to Gender Diversity in Science.

Are there any others we’ve missed? Please add any of interest in the comments below. A full list may be obtained from the UK Government website.

Creating the universe: an interactive mathematical art project

Creating the universe

Creating the universe‘ is an “interactive mathematical art project” by Kathrin Glau taking place at Tate Modern London from 11-16 June 2019. Its website explains:

With top and felt we explore a conceptual world that normally is layed out in its own symbolic language. This is an artistic study of the foundations of mathematics. To do so, we create the nested sets building the mathematical universe itself.

Kathrin Glau

A page on the website offers more detail about the exhibition. It is part of a wider Queen Mary University programme of activity at the Tate, with free entry.

View D-Day via real-time tweets of Enigma intercepts from Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park are planning to real-time tweet the D-Day landings on their 75th anniversary, via decrypted German Naval Enigma messages intercepted on site.

The Bletchley Park website explains:

To coincide with the 75th anniversary of D-Day, this Thursday 6 June 2019, Bletchley Park will be live tweeting minute by minute, in real time 75 years to the day, decrypted German Naval Enigma messages intercepted on site during the 6 June 1944 operation.

Starting from 23.58 GMT on 5 June, when German naval units were put on alert, to the following night by which time 156,000 Allied troops had landed by sea and air, the messages reveal how the Germans slowly realised that the Allied invasion in the West had begun. The Western Allies had landed in Normandy and not Calais as the Germans had been led to believe.

The 182 messages will be posted on the Bletchley Park twitter account @bletchleypark starting at 00.58 (GMT+1) and ending at 23.38 (GMT+1) – the times they would have originally been intercepted on 6 June 1944.

Update: If you are following the messages, it may be useful to know that Bletchley has produced a glossary of terms used.

Talking Maths in Public

In 2017, the University of Bath hosted the first Talking Maths in Public conference, a gathering for UK maths communicators. As part of the event, attendance bursaries were awarded to students interested in maths outreach, and the recipients of the bursaries wrote about their experiences. To celebrate the fact that a second TMiP conference will be happening this year (booking is open now, and we’re all going to be there!), we’re sharing their report of TMiP 2017. You can find out more about this year’s event (which also includes a bursary scheme) at talkingmathsinpublic.uk.

This post was jointly written by Imogen Morris, (University of Edinburgh), David Nkansah (University of Glasgow) and Olivia Sorto (University of Edinburgh).

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