Wednesday September 20th 2017

The Whole Universe Catalog

low_0135A seemingly endless variety of food was sprawled over several tables at the home of Judith L. Baxter and her husband, mathematician Stephen D. Smith, in Oak Park, Ill., on a cool Friday evening in September 2011. Canapés, homemade meatballs, cheese plates and grilled shrimp on skewers crowded against pastries, pâtés, olives, salmon with dill sprigs and feta wrapped in eggplant. Dessert choices included—but were not limited to—a lemon mascarpone cake and an African pumpkin cake. The sun set, and champagne flowed, as the 60 guests, about half of them mathematicians, ate and drank and ate some more.

The colossal spread was fitting for a party celebrating a mammoth achievement. Four mathematicians at the dinner—Smith, Michael Aschbacher, Richard Lyons and Ronald Solomon—had just published a book, more than 180 years in the making, that gave a broad overview of the biggest division problem in mathematics history.

Read more here at Scientific American, or email me for a pdf. Image: Scientific American

 

More from category

Solving a math problem to create art
Solving a math problem to create art

Optimization is the mathematical quest for the best way to do something, from finding the shortest distance between two [Read More]

Zombie physics
Zombie physics

For Alex Alemi and Matt Bierbaum, physics graduate students at Cornell University in the US, there really was no [Read More]

Charting the history of western art with math
Charting the history of western art with math

  For more than a century, researchers have used statistics to study writing style in a sort of literary forensics [Read More]

Can an Equation be a Poem?
Can an Equation be a Poem?

April is Mathematics Awareness Month. April is alsoNational Poetry Month. Coincidence? Yep, almost definitely. But [Read More]

Archives