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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.

Review: Humble Pi, by Matt Parker

Humble Pi - book cover

There are many things I admire about Matt Parker (or, to give him his full title, Friend of the Aperiodical, Mathematician Matt Parker) and his work, but probably top of the list is how he switches, apparently effortlessly, between modes. One minute, he’s showing off a fax machine to a group of hard-core geeks with Festival of the Spoken Nerd; the previous, he’s inspiring a “lively” bottom set of year 9s, after putting together a Numberphile video for people somewhere in between.

While Humble Pi – A Comedy Of Maths Errors is pitched firmly at the last of those groups – for a popular maths book to hit the top of the Sunday Times bestseller list, it really needs to be – there’s plenty in it for the others.

33 can be written as the sum of three cubes

It was an open question whether 33 could be written as the sum of three cubes. Thanks to Andrew R. Booker, it now isn’t.

\begin{array}{c} (8866128975287528)^3 \\ + \\(-8778405442862239)^3 \\ + \\(-2736111468807040)^3 \\ = \\ 33\end{array}

Not Mentioned on The Aperiodical, 2018

We’ve had a bit of a break over the holidays, but mathematical news stops for no mince pie. From new prime numbers to mathematical doodling challenges, here’s a round-up of some of the facts/stories that we’ve seen while trying not to do any work.

Ditching the fifth axiom (video)

Watch geometer/topologist Caleb Ashley explain the parallel postulate on Numberphile.

Carnival of Mathematics 145

 

Carnival of Mathematics LogoWelcome to the 145th Carnival of Mathematics, hosted here at The Aperiodical.

If you’re not familiar with the Carnival of Mathematics, it’s a monthly blog post, hosted on some kind volunteer’s maths blog, rounding up their favourite mathematical blog posts (and submissions they’ve received through our form) from the past month, ish. If you think you’d like to host one on your blog, simply drop an email to katie@aperiodical.com and we can find an upcoming month you can do. On to the Carnival!

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