I ended Part I with the observation that the Monster group was connected with the symmetries of a group sitting in 196883-dimensional space, whereas the number 196884 appeared as part of a function used in number theory, the study of the properties of whole numbers. In particular, a mathematician named John McKay noticed the number as one of the coefficients of a modular form.
A couple of weekends ago was the big MathsJam gathering (I might call it a recreational maths conference, but this is discouraged). Two of the delightful sideshows, alongside an excellent series of talks, were the competitions. The Baking Competition is fairly straightforward, with prizes for “best flavour, best presentation, and best maths”:
The first will reward a well-made, delicious item; the second will reward the item which has been decorated the most beautifully and looks most like what it’s supposed to be; and the third will reward the most ingenious mathematical theming.
You may have noticed Aperiodical team members Paul and I were blogging from the Heidelberg Laureate Forum back in September. The HLF is an opportunity for young researchers (PhD, MSc and post-doc) to meet the winners of prestigious prizes in maths and computer science, including the Abel Prize, Fields Medal, ACM AM Turing Prize and Nevanlinna prize.
The next HLF will take place in September 2018, and applications open today for Young Researchers who want to participate. If you’re a maths or computer science researcher and want to be invited on a trip to Germany with lots of interesting talks, delicious food and good company, you can apply on the HLF website from today.
The game involves using the numbers 1 to 9, and twelve symbols (three each of +,×,-,÷). The challenge is to combine the symbols and numbers in the right way to get a higher score than your opponent. It requires fast calculation, strategic thinking and a bit of luck.
Their IndieGoGo campaign hopes to raise enough money to go into production, and they have 7 days left to take pre-orders and donations in return for goodies. It’s also possible to make a donation which results in not you, but a worthy school in rural India, getting a copy of the game.
Watch the video below for an idea of how it works!
If you hadn’t heard of Dance Your PhD, it’s one of many competitions open to researchers who want to communicate their work in interesting ways – although it’s unique in that it challenges people to interpret their research topic in the form of a dance.