Muon g2 experiment (courtesy Fermilab)
A new measurement of the magnetic moment of the muon may draw into question the standard model of physics, the reigning theoretical construct describing all known fundamental forces and particles of physics. The new result was released in a paper dated today (7 April 2021) with 240 authors, led by researchers at Fermilab in the U.S., but also including researchers from Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, Russia, South Korea, China and Croatia.
The standard model of physics is arguably is the most successful physical theory ever devised, explaining all known fundamental particles and all known forces
Continue reading Muon result may rewrite standard model of physics
Alfred V. Aho (courtesy ACM)
Jeffrey D. Ullman (courtesy ACM)
The 2020 Alan M. Turing Award, bestowed by the Association for Computing Machinery, has been granted to Alfred V. Aho, Professor Emeritus at Columbia University, and Jeffrey D. Ullman, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. The ACM Turing Award, which is named after computing pioneer Alan Turing, is widely considered to be the most prestigious award in the field of computer science. Past recipients include many of the most accomplished figures in the field, including Richard Hamming, Donald Knuth, William Kahan, Edward Feigenbaum, Jim Gray, Tim BernersLee, John Hennessy and David
Continue reading Aho and Ullman receive the ACM Turing Award
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The Abel Prize
The 2021 Abel Prize, arguably the closest equivalent in mathematics to the Nobel prize, has been awarded jointly to Avi Widgerson of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and László Lovász of the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, for their research linking discrete mathematics and computer science. The recipients will split the award, which is approximately USD$880,000.
According to Hanz MuntheKaas of the University of Bergen in Norway, who chaired the Abel Prize committee, Widgerson and Lovász “really opened up the landscape
Continue reading Two researchers share Abel prize for work in discrete mathematics and computer science
Credit: U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Covid19 and the misinformation pandemic
The Covid19 pandemic has disrupted human life like no other event of modern history. As of the present date (1 Mar 2021), over 114,000,000 confirmed cases and 2.5 million deaths have been recorded worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University database. The U.S. has recorded over 514,000 deaths, and the U.K. has recorded over 123,000. The U.S. death toll, for instance, exceeds the combined combat death toll of all wars fought in its 245year history (save only the civil war). And for every death there are
Continue reading Pandemics, misinformation and pseudoscience
Yes, it is that time of year — Pi Day (March 14, or 3/14 in North American month/day date notation) is approaching. So in honor of the occasion, I have constructed a new crossword puzzle — see below. This puzzle employs a certain pirelated feature that will become evident as you solve it.
This puzzle conforms to the New York Times crossword conventions. As far as difficulty level, it would be comparable to the NYT Tuesday or Wednesday puzzles (the NYT puzzles are graded each week from Monday [easiest] to Saturday [most difficult]).
If you would like a fullpage version
Continue reading PiDay 2021 crossword puzzle
Structure of the Nsp 15 hexamer, a component of Covid19 (Courtesy Argonne Natl Lab)
Protein folding
Proteins are the workhorses of biology. A few examples in human biology include actin and myosin, the proteins that enable muscles to work; keratin, which is the basis of skin and hair; hemoglobin, the basis of red blood that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body; pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down food for digestion; and insulin, which controls metabolism. A protein known as “spike” is the key for the coronavirus to invade healthy cells. And for every protein in human biology, there
Continue reading Machinelearning breakthrough in protein folding
Euclid, from Rafael’s “School of Athens”, Vatican Museum, Rome, photo courtesy Clay Mathematics Institute
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Perfect numbers
A perfect number is a positive integer whose divisors (not including itself) add up to the integer. The smallest perfect number is $6$, since $6 = 1 + 2 + 3$. The next is $28 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14$, followed by $496 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 31 + 62 + 124 + 248$ and $8128 = 1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32
Continue reading Do odd perfect numbers exist? New results on an old problem
Courtesy Adarsh Pathak
AI comes of age
The modern field of artificial intelligence (AI) began in 1950 with Alan Turing’s landmark paper Computing machinery and intelligence, which outlined the principles of AI and proposed the Turing test. Although early researchers were confident that AI systems would soon be a reality, inflated promises and expectations led to disappointment in the 1970s and again in the 1980s.
A breakthrough of sorts came in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the emergence of Bayestheorembased methods, which quickly displaced the older methods based mostly on formal reasoning. When combined with steadily advancing
Continue reading Can computers do mathematical research?
Peter Borwein (sitting), with his brother Jonathan Borwein (courtesy Canada Foundation for Innovation)
Peter Borwein, retired Professor of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University (British Columbia, Canada) and former Director of SFU’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences (IRMACS), died on August 23, 2020, at the age of 67, of pneumonia, after courageously battling multiple sclerosis for over 20 years.
Peter was a prolific mathematician, with over 200 publications, including several books. His research included works in classical analysis, computational number theory, Diophantine number theory and symbolic computing. Many of these papers were coauthored with his brother
Continue reading Peter Borwein dies at 67
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The ErdősTurán conjecture
Paul Erdős, one of the twentieth century’s most unique mathematicians, was known to travel from colleague to colleague, often arriving unannounced, and to immediately delve into some particularly intriguing research problem. See this article and this book for some additional background on this influential mathematician.
One of his more interesting conjectures is his “conjecture on arithmetic progressions,” sometimes referred to as the “ErdősTurán conjecture.” It can be simply stated as follows: If $A$ is a set of positive integers such that $$\sum_{k \in A} \frac{1}{k} = \infty,$$ then $A$ contains arithmetic progressions of
Continue reading Two mathematicians’ triple play

