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It’s Imminently Time For Relatively Prime

Long-standing chum of The Aperiodical, Samuel Hansen, has been spending the past year travelling round the world recording interviews and collecting audio for an ambitious series of programs about maths called Relatively Prime: Stories from the mathematical domain. The first episode will be released next Monday.

Sam’s written a nice long press release explaining what the show’s about so, rather than use my own stupid words, I’ll let him tell you all about it:

Solid state quantum processor demonstrated running Shor’s prime factoring algorithm

Researchers have designed and fabricated a quantum processor capable of factoring a composite number – 15 – into its constituent prime factors, 3 and 5.

According to a press release, this “represents a milestone on the road map to building a quantum computer capable of factoring much larger numbers, with significant implications for cryptography and cybersecurity”. The results are published in advance online access at Nature Physics.

A-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics numbers continue to rise

An IMA/LMS press release points out that A-level and AS-level Mathematics and Further Mathematics entries are continuing to rise.

The number of A-level Mathematics entries is up 3.3% on last year, with AS Mathematics increasing by 5.1%.
Further Mathematics also continues to grow, with entries increasing by 7.6% at A-level this year and 12.9% at AS.
This means that since 2007 the number of A-level Mathematics entries has risen by 42.7% and in Further Mathematics the increase is even greater at 68%.

The piece also points out that “mathematics A-levels now account for 11.4% of all entries – more than any other subject”. A quote from LMS Education Secretary Dr Tony Gardiner warns that “it is essential that Ofqual’s current review does nothing to undermine this position”.

Press release: A-level results – Mathematics is counting its success.

The London Pie

EDF Energy, one of the pantheon of Olympics sponsors, has opted to share its love for energy through its ‘Energy of the Nation’ project, launched earlier this week. By monitoring the nation’s positive and negative ‘energy’, by which they mean ‘things they are saying on Twitter’, they’ll turn the London Eye into a giant pie chart each evening at 9pm and display the results of the previous 24 hours’ sentiments over the course of 24 minutes. While my approval of such a large act of data representation is practically off the (pie) chart, I’m interested to find out how it works before judging it either way.

Insect numeracy standards overtake KS2

In what must surely now be described as a classic maths news item, yet another species of animal has joined the ranks of things which can determine rank. This time it’s the humble fruit fly’s turn to tap its hoof the correct number of times, as these articles in The Metro and Nature (the two standard science references for their respective ends of the credibility spectrum) describe. Props to The Metro for an excellent headline pun.

‘RightingBot’ simulates the way lizards right themselves when falling


RightingBot. Credit: Tom Libby

Lizards, just like cats, have a knack for landing on their feet when they fall. But unlike cats, which twist and bend their torsos to turn in the air, lizards swing their large tails one way to rotate their body the other, according to a recent study. And the longer the tail, the smaller the movement needed. The study used high-speed video, developed a mathematical model and finally used this to develop a lizard-inspired robot, called ‘RightingBot’, which replicates the feat.