How Mathematicians wonder: The Riemann hypothesis

The Riemann hypothesis [the tiny photo here shows Riemann, he who hypothesized] fascinates an uncountable number of mathematicians. Many have tried, tried, tried to prove that it’s true. The problem is not easy. Here’s proof, of a sort, of how not easy it is. The following passage appears on page 100 of Ricardo Perez Marco [pictures here […]

The International Workshop on Packing

Make your travel plans now for the next International Workshop on Packing. This year’s, held in Dublin in a “packed house”, has just concluded, the participants (all of whom have intriguingly packed schedules) efficiently stuffing their travel accoutrements and dirty clothes into backpacks and suitcases, and hastening back to their labs and homes. The conference’s promoters […]

A smidgen of mathematical levity, plus 58 minutes

In this first video, Fry and Laurie present a calculated bit of mathematical levity [HT Jennifer Ouellette]: In the following video, Professor Bikash Kumar Dey of the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, presents 58 minutes without levity. It’s his famous “Lecture – 22 Probability of Error Calculation”. Enjoy, if you will: BONUS: “Lecture – 24 […]

Mathematics, Morally

Eugenia Cheng [pictured here] thought long and hard about the, or at least a, relationship between mathematics and morality. She wrote up those thoughts and delivered them in a talk called “Mathematics, Morally” on 23rd January, 2004, at the Cambridge University Society for the Philosophy of Mathematics. Cheng writes: The first thing to be clear about is that […]

Ig Nobel winner Pat Robertson makes another prediction

Pat Robertson, who shared the 2011 Ig Nobel Prize in mathematics, has made a new prediction, this time about climate change. Robertson won his Ig Nobel for predicting the world would end in 1982, thus (eventually) teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations. His co-winners each made their own erroneous predictions […]