mathematics

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Solution to Math Problem Begins in Unexpected Place

Anonymous 4chan user was answering question about binge-watching anime show

(Newser) - It might be the strangest journey to the solution of a math conundrum ever. It turns out that an anonymous post on the online forum 4chan about how to watch a Japanese anime series may have helped crack a 25-year-old math problem, reports the Verge . Not surprisingly, this one takes... More »

His $1M Math Solution Isn't Going Over Well

Michael Atiyah must convince colleagues that he cracked a 159-year-old problem

(Newser) - Michael Atiyah is an acclaimed mathematician who has won some of the top prizes in his field, and he now claims to have cracked a 159-year-old problem called the Riemann hypothesis. If he's right, Atiyah wins even more acclaim—plus a $1 million prize. But before the bubbly is... More »

He Won Math's Most Coveted Prize. 30 Minutes Later, It Was Gone

Rio thief made off with professor's Fields medal

(Newser) - Algebraic geometry, particularly problems involving singularities and linear systems, is Caucher Birkar's specialty. Hanging on to medals apparently isn't. The renowned Cambridge professor had his Fields medal—known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics—stolen within 30 minutes of receiving it at the International Congress of Mathematics in... More »

Babies May Not Get the Concept of 'Zero,' but Bees Do

Researchers amazed that honeybees can grasp the abstract construct of 'nothing'

(Newser) - Dolphins, monkeys, birds, and homo sapiens have a shared understanding of a quite difficult concept, and now honeybees are joining the party. Per a release , that concept is "zero," an abstract mathematical construct that scientists say stumps humans until at least preschool , but which they now note is... More »

5th-Grade Exam Question Leaves Internet Stumped

Education department says problem was meant to assess critical thinking

(Newser) - "If a ship had 26 sheep and 10 goats on board, how old is the ship's captain?" Stumped? So are fifth-grade students in China's Shunqing district of Nanchong, where the aforementioned question appeared on a math exam for the 11-year-olds. Some gave their best guesses, with one... More »

After 14 Years, FedEx Employee Makes Major Math Discovery

There's a new longest known prime number

(Newser) - A new prime number—the biggest ever—has been discovered. Unfortunately, we don't have the 54 days CNET reports it would take to write it all out. The newly found number, nicknamed M77232917, is 2 to the 77,232,917th power minus 1, according to FiveThirtyEight . It's 23,... More »

Earliest Known Use of Zero Found by Farmer in Pakistan

The Bakhshali manuscript dates to the 3rd or 4th century

(Newser) - When it comes to mathematics, zero is not nothing. And thanks to new research and some carbon dating, we now know "zero" as we know it was invented a whole lot earlier than we thought. "Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used... More »

Tablet Shows Maybe Greeks Didn't Invent Trig After All

Researchers say Babylonians beat Greeks to trigonometry by 1,000 years

(Newser) - Greek astronomer Hipparchus is known as the father of trigonometry. But the Guardian reports Babylonian mathematicians may have gotten there 1,000 years earlier. Ever since the real-life inspiration for Indiana Jones discovered a 3,700-year-old clay tablet called P322 in what is now Iraq, historians and mathematicians have debated... More »

Girl Scouts Have 23 New Badges, With Science Focus

Biggest new batch in a decade for the group

(Newser) - From tiny Daisies to teen Ambassadors, Girl Scouts may now earn 23 new badges focused on science, technology, engineering, and math. It's the largest addition of new badges in a decade for Girl Scouts of the USA, per the AP . The effort takes a progressive approach to STEM and... More »

1st Woman to Win Math's Nobel Prize Dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani was 'ambitious, resolute, and fearless'

(Newser) - The first woman to win the Fields Medal—essentially math's version of the Nobel Prize—has died at the age of 40 after a battle with breast cancer, NPR reports. According to AFP , Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born Stanford professor, won the award in 2014 for her work in geometry... More »

Why These Immigrants Gravitate to Math, Science

The age one came to the US plays a role

(Newser) - It's formally called the Regeneron Student Talent Search, but it's more casually known as the "Junior Nobel"—and the high schooler who wins the elite science prize walks with $250,000. A study on last year's finalists turned up something interesting, reports Teen Vogue : 83%... More »

Cop Saves 10-Year-Old Girl ... From Homework Emergency

Lena Draper went to the police with a tough math question last week

(Newser) - When you're 10 years old, a tough math question can definitely feel like a life-or-death emergency. So when Ohio fifth-grader Lena Draper couldn't figure out the answer to (8 + 29) x 15, she turned to the Marion Police Department. "I'm having trouble with my homework,... More »

How Many Nudes Is Too Many Nudes for Jr High Math Lesson?

An Ohio teacher now knows the answer

(Newser) - We know it can be hard to get kids invested in algebra, but this probably isn't the answer. WOIO reports Ohio parents are upset with a teacher at Middleburg Heights Junior High School for spicing up a freshman algebra lesson a little too much. Here's one of the... More »

Math Moves Scientists Closer to Perfect Coffee

Coffee-maker companies will likely be paying attention

(Newser) - One plus one equals … brew? Scientists out of Ireland's University of Limerick tapped into math and a computer model in their quest to come up with a cup of coffee that would satisfy even Twin Peaks' Special Agent Dale Cooper , the CBC reports. And while it was impossible... More »

4 Years Later, Math Pros Begin to Grasp Guy's Theory

But it could be years before ABC conjecture is officially solved

(Newser) - Four years after a Japanese mathematician announced he'd cracked an epic math problem , his fellow number crunchers are a step closer to deciding whether he got it right. Yes, his work is that complicated. In 2012, Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University, who's known to work in isolation, published... More »

Man Being Hailed as Real 'Good Will Hunting'

Yu Jianchun has come up with alternate method of verifying Carmichael numbers

(Newser) - Yu Jianchun has never seen Good Will Hunting, and maybe he doesn't need to. CNN reports the 33-year-old Chinese migrant worker is living part of its plot. Yu attended a vocational school rather than college, and he's never taken advanced math—"I barely have any knowledge about... More »

Mathematicians Reveal 'True Protagonist' on Game of Thrones

Tyrion Lannister takes the cake in Westeros

(Newser) - There are so many characters in Game of Thrones it's hard to keep them straight, let alone identify the main character. Mathematicians Andrew Beveridge and a student from Macalester College turned to "network science" to sort it out, searching for instances in which two characters' names appeared within... More »

Author: Ditch Mandatory Algebra in Schools

Instead, teach kids basic math skills they'll use in the real world: Andrew Hacker

(Newser) - Something's not adding up, according to what the AP calls a "provocative new book" that pleads the case of getting rid of mandatory algebra in US schools. "One out of 5 young Americans does not graduate from high school … one of the worst records in the... More »

Prof Solves 300-Year-Old Math Mystery, Wins $700K

Oxford professor had been trying to crack Fermat's Last Theorem since he was a boy

(Newser) - An Oxford professor is now $700,000 richer for solving a 300-year-old math mystery, the Telegraph reports. In 1994, Andrew Wiles, 62, cracked Fermat's Last Theorem, which was put forth by 17th-century mathematician Pierre de Fermat. Wiles will be traveling to Oslo, Norway, in May to collect the 2016... More »

Prime Numbers Just Got a Little Stranger

They repeat in patterns that aren't as random as thought

(Newser) - Two Stanford mathematicians have managed to surprise others in their field with a previously undiscovered insight about prime numbers: They're not as random as believed. Or, more precisely, there seems to be some order in the way one prime number follows another, reports Quanta Magazine . Start with the basics:... More »

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