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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 »

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 »

Crowdsourcing Helps Prof Solve Old Math Problem

Terence Tao publishes a proof of the 83-year-old Erdos discrepancy problem

(Newser) - UCLA professor Terence Tao , one of the world's top mathematicians, has just solved a famous problem dating back to the 1930s—and he says it was a comment on his blog earlier this year that sent him in the right direction. He also built off earlier crowdsourced work to... More »

What's So Special About This Japanese Chalk?

The company has folded, but the chalk is still available online

(Newser) - When the 80-year-old Japanese company that produces Hagoromo Fulltouch chalk went out of business this past spring , mathematicians took to social media to pay their respects and their wallets to buy as much of the chalk as they could—15 years' worth in the case of one professor. Sarah Zhang... More »

3-Sentence Letter of Reference Goes Viral

A mathematician wrote it for 'genius' John Forbes Nash

(Newser) - Like a strong, simple letter of recommendation? Well it helps if the subject is a genius. Mathematician Richard Duffin wrote a letter to Princeton University for John Forbes Nash, Jr., who became an esteemed mathematician and the subject of the film A Beautiful Mind, Mashable reports. Dated Feb. 11, 1948,... More »

A Beautiful Mind Mathematician, Wife Die in Crash

John Forbes Nash, Alicia Nash killed in taxi on New Jersey Turnpike

(Newser) - John Forbes Nash, the Nobel-winning Princeton mathematician known for his work in game theory and as the inspiration behind A Beautiful Mind, died yesterday in a crash in New Jersey. Also killed was his wife and partner of nearly six decades, Alicia Nash. The Nashes were riding in a taxi... More »

A Lot of Mathematicians Have Met Awful Fates

And one of them has decided to keep track

(Newser) - Those who visit the homepage of a Rutgers mathematician could be checking his office hours or what papers he's written. But it's far more likely that they're there to access a link that appears, without fanfare, on a page mathematics PhD student Kellen Myers has simply titled... More »

Descartes' Skull Reveals Secret About His Life

17th-century French mathematician famously said, 'I think, therefore I am'

(Newser) - French mathematician and father of modern philosophy Rene Descartes is perhaps most famous for his phrase, "I think, therefore I am." But now French medical anthropologist and forensic expert Philippe Charlier is adding a layer of intrigue to the thinker's history. Descartes died in Stockholm in 1650... More »

First Woman Wins 'Math's Nobel Prize'

Stanford's Maryam Mirzakhani awarded Fields Medal

(Newser) - An Iranian-born Stanford University professor has become the first woman to win the Fields Medal—the most prestigious prize in mathematics, and one that the San Jose Mercury News describes as "math's Nobel Prize." Maryam Mirzakhani, 37, is one of four mathematicians under 40 being awarded the... More »

Mathematician Cracks OkCupid, Finds Wife

Though it still took 88 actual first dates

(Newser) - First, there was boy meets girl. Then, boy meets girl online. And now, boy meets girl online after manipulating the algorithms of his Internet dating site. As Wired explains, it helps to be a mathematician. Christopher McKinlay was a 30-something looking for love on OkCupid and not having much luck.... More »

Big Discovery: Largest Prime Number

Newest Mersenne 'like finding a diamond'

(Newser) - The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search just paid dividends in the hunt for ever-bigger prime numbers, the New Scientist reports. University of Central Missouri mathematician Curtis Cooper has discovered the biggest prime number yet, a 17 million-digit behemoth, as part of GIMPS. The project uses a huge network of volunteer... More »

Google Doodle Offers Brain-Teaser Tribute

It honors mathematician Alan Turing

(Newser) - Google today honors pioneering mathematician Alan Turing with one of its more ambitious Google Doodles. As USA Today explains, it simulates one of his theoretical concepts, a Turing Machine. "There are six puzzles to solve, one for each letter in the Google logo," writes Nancy Blair. "After... More »

How This Woman Changed Physics

Emmy Noether may be obscure, but her work was revolutionary

(Newser) - Her work may be the "backbone" of all modern physics; her key theorem could be as important as the theory of relativity; yet hardly anyone knows who Emmy Noether is. Celebrating her 130th birthday this month, Noether has suffered what the New York Times calls "chronic neglect"—... More »

Mathematician Calculates Pi to 10T Digits

Breaks own previous record of 5T digits

(Newser) - A Japanese man used his homemade computer to calculate the value of pi to 10 trillion digits, breaking the 5-trillion-digit record he himself set last August . Systems engineer Shigeru Kondo, 56, started crunching the numbers on a computer using a 48-terabyte hard drive in October and finished Sunday, the Telegraph... More »

Forget Pi, Here Comes Tau

Using a new constant would simplify things, say experts

(Newser) - You don't need to be a mathematician to appreciate pi: Children everywhere can tell you it's 3.14, and it's even celebrated on 3-14. But now experts are arguing that pi, which references the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, be replaced with a... More »

Amateur Math Wiz Calculates Pi to 5T Digits

Breaks record on homemade computer

(Newser) - A Japanese math enthusiast has shattered the record for calculating the value of Pi. Shigeru Kondo, 55, spent roughly $17,800 building the homemade computer that helped him accomplish the feat—it boasted 32 terabytes-worth of hard drive, and had to have fans blown on it at all times to... More »

Math Genius Turns Down $1M Prize

Reclusive Grigory Perelman refuses to explain himself

(Newser) - Grigory Perelman has solved one of math’s most intractable problems, a century-old puzzle that carries a $1 million prize. There’s just one problem: Perelman doesn’t want the money, and he won’t say why. He won’t say anything, in fact. Ever since the Clay Mathematics Institute... More »

Scientist Smashes Pi Record

He calculates number to 2.7 trillion digits on his home PC

(Newser) - A French scientist shattered the record for calculated digits of Pi, working the number out to 2.7 trillion decimal places—and he did it with a home PC. Fabrice Bellard beat the previous record by 100 billion digits, using a new software algorithm he claims is 20 times faster... More »

British PM Apologizes to Gay WWII Codebreaker

Gordon Brown slams 'horrifying' treatment of late mathematician Alan Turing

(Newser) - Gordon Brown has issued a posthumous apology to WWII codebreaking genius Alan Turing, the Guardian reports. Turing's work cracking German codes helped the Allies win the war, but he was later prosecuted for having a gay relationship. He was chemically castrated after being forced to choose between that or prison,... More »

A Zombie's Worst Enemy: Canadian Math Geeks

Scholars devise method to eliminate pesky Hollywood bugaboo

(Newser) - Decades of terrorizing sleepy towns in grade-B horror flicks hasn't prepared zombies for their newest foe: Canadian math geeks. Scholars in Ottawa have formulated a mathematical model to combat a zombie outbreak, dismissing quarantines and cures: “The most effective way to contain the rise of the undead is to... More »

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