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Wikithon for diversity in mathematics

Image of Ada Lovelace (credit: Science Museum)

Next Tuesday, October 8th, UCL Mathematics is hosting a Wikithon in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day from 5-7pm. The theme is Diversity in Mathematics, and the aim is to write Wikipedia articles about mathematicians from under-represented groups. The session will be led by Dr Jess Wade BEM (Imperial College, Physics) and Dr Alice White (Wellcome Trust).

Jess Wade was appointed BEM earlier this year for services to Gender Diversity in Science.

If you want to participate, you are asked to bring a laptop – pizza will be provided. You are asked to register (for free) for catering reasons.

42 is the answer to the question “what is (-80538738812075974)³ + 80435758145817515³ + 12602123297335631³?”

We now know that the number 42 can be written as the sum of three cubes:

\[ 42 = (-80538738812075974)^3 + 80435758145817515^3 + 12602123297335631^3 \]

This computational breakthrough was achieved in a collaboration between Andrew Sutherland (MIT) and Andrew Booker (Bristol). They announced the result by both replacing their homepages with the expression – with the page title Life, the Universe and Everything.

Simon Singh wants someone to help with Top Top Set

Top-Top Set Maths logo

Simon Singh, author of Fermat’s Last Theorem and The Code Book, among others, has for the last three years been running a project called Top-Top Set. It’s an enrichment project to stretch kids at non-selective state schools in the UK.

Now, Simon is looking for an experienced maths teacher to help him grow the project even further.

Responsibilities for the Top-Top Set Project Co-ordinator include:

  • Developing the top-top set project to maximise its impact and cost-effectiveness.
  • Supporting and visiting the schools currently
  • Helping schools implement the top-top set model to full effect.
  • Recruiting more schools to start in September 2020.
  • Working with potential and existing funders.
  • Teaching top-top sets or potential top-top set students.
  • Developing resources for and managing the online Parallel Project.

If that sounds like something you’d like to do, find more information about how to apply at the Good Thinking Society website.

If that doesn’t sound like something you’d like to do, or just while you’re waiting to hear if you’ve got the job, check out Parallel, a set of free weekly maths challenges developed to support Top-Top Set, but available to everyone.

Cédric Villani is running for mayor of Paris

Cédric Villani under an umbrella

Fields medallist Cédric Villani has announced he’s running to be mayor of Paris.

Villani is already a deputé for Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche! party, but his ambition doesn’t seem to be bounded above, so now he wants to be mayor of Paris.

France has already had a mathematician President, Paul Painlevé, so I’m surprised to see Villani revisiting a solved problem. Maybe he’s going for an induction…

How far will Cédric Villani go to achieve his goal? Well, here’s a piece in Le Parisien featuring a photo of him in an open-necked shirt and without his signature spider brooch. Watch out, world!

A press release on Villani’s website also mentions that he’s got a book out in February, Immersion, de la science à la politique, reflecting on his experiences campaigning and in parliament.

Karen EDGE Fellowship Program

Edge proudly presents The Karen EDGE Fellowship

Karen Uhlenbeck has made a donation to the EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) Foundation which is to establish The Karen EDGE Fellowship Program. This aims “to support and enhance the research programs and collaborations of mid-career mathematicians who are U.S. citizens and members of a minority group that is underrepresented in the field of mathematics”.

The award consists of $8,000 per year for three years including funding for visits to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Further details and how to apply are available via the EDGE website. Applications are due by 1st February 2020, with three awardees announced by 1 May 2020.

Via Association for Women in Mathematics on Twitter.

Summer Maths Puzzles from the Isaac Newton Institute

Summer Maths Puzzles website graphic

There are a collection of 23 maths-based puzzles appearing at a rate of one-per-weekday through August over at the Isaac Newton Institute. Their website explains “They won’t require sophisticated maths to solve, but equally they won’t be easy. Discussing your ideas might help.”

For example, here is the teaser puzzle, £8.19:

Two players play a game.
  • They each start with an unlimited number of coins of denominations: 1p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p and 100p.
  • They take it in turns putting coins into a pot one at a time.
  • The winner is the person who places the final coin into the pot reaching the target total of £8.19.
  • A player automatically loses if they exceed the target total.
Given that they are both perfect logicians and strategists, who wins?

Answers will be revealed at the end of the month, and you are invited to submit your answers for a chance to be named as a person or group who submitted one of the first few correct answers.

At the time of writing, there are 6 puzzles still to be revealed, and 17 puzzles are live. Check out the Summer Maths Puzzles website, or search Twitter, Facebook or Instagram for #SummerMathsPuzzles.

Happy puzzling!