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Not mentioned on The Aperiodical this month, March/April

Here’s a round up of some other recent (and now less so) news stories we didn’t cover in full.

13 New 3-body orbits discovered

Physicists from the University of Belgrade have discovered numerically 13 new solutions to the 3-body problem, in 2 dimensions. Described as “quite a feat in mathematical physics”, the discovery makes progress towards the long-standing problem of determining how three particles, when left to move under the action of their gravity on each other, will behave. The solutions they’ve found are all for particles moving in a 2-dimensional plane, and are represented using points on the surface of a sphere to describe the position of the three particles.

Article from Science

Arxiv Paper

Claimed disproof of the Triangulation Conjecture

The Triangulation Conjecture, a result in topology, may turn out to be false as UCLA’s Ciprian Manolescu claims to have disproved it. The conjecture claims that every compact topological manifold can be triangulated by a locally finite simplicial complex, which means that, roughly, any surface (well, n-dimensional surface) can be divided into triangles in a specific way that topologists find exciting. The conjecture has already been disproved in dimension 4, although hope was held it might be true in higher dimensions. We’re still waiting for confirmation the disproof is correct, but if it is it wipes out many topologists’ hopes of being able to divide certain types of surfaces into triangles in a specific way.

Blog post on the topic, with an interesting comments discussion

(via Dave Richeson on Twitter)

Math Cannot be Patented

A patent suit filed in the Eastern District of Texas has been dismissed on the grounds that mathematics cannot be patented. Uniloc, described in an article on news blog Rackspace as ‘a notorious patent troll’, alleged that a floating point numerical calculation by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697. You can’t patent maths!

Mathematics Cannot Be Patented – Case Dismissed at Rackspace

Transactions of the LMS: an open access journal

Fans of Open Access journals will be pleased to hear that the London Mathematical Society is launching one, titled Transactions of the London Mathematical Society. The LMS would like to emphasise that:

By launching this journal, the LMS is not promoting any particular cause and we do not advocate one publishing payment model over another.

Details can be found on pages 8-11 of their most recent newsletter.

LMS Newsletter #424

Declassifying Discoveries by NSA Mathematicians

A petition has been raised for the White House to pressure the USA’s National Security Agency to allow unused discoveries to be declassified, and for “gag order” patents to expire after they have served their purpose.

The petition goes as follows:

The NSA is the largest employer of mathematicians in the United States. Currently, the discoveries of those mathematicians in their official areas of research, being deemed potentially critical to national security, are indiscriminately classified for an indefinite period, with limited circumstances for declassification.

It is requested the White House press the NSA for an expiration policy for the classification status of non-applied discoveries and instituting an expiration for gag order patents in the interest of furthering American academia and industry advancement and in the interest of crediting the discoveries of our nation’s talented NSA employees.

If you agree with that, you can sign the petition at It currently has just over 1,800 signatures, gathered over a week and a bit.

via BikeMath on Twitter.

Mirror which could eliminate drivers’ blind spot receives US patent

A problem in optics has lead to a US patent for a car side mirror which “eliminates the dangerous ‘blind spot'” and “dramatically increases the field of view with minimal distortion” by finding approximate solutions for “the problem of controlling a single ray bundle with a single reflector”.