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combinatorics

Marjorie Rice
Abstractions blog

Marjorie Rice’s Secret Pentagons

July 11, 2017

A California housewife who in the 1970s discovered four new types of tessellating pentagons is dead at 94.

15 pentagon tessellations
geometry

Pentagon Tiling Proof Solves Century-Old Math Problem

July 11, 2017

A French mathematician has completed the classification of all convex pentagons, and therefore all convex polygons, that tile the plane.

Graph
Abstractions blog

The Tricky Translation of Mathematical Ideas

June 28, 2017

Big advances in math can happen when mathematicians move ideas into areas where they seem like they shouldn’t belong.

June Huh at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.
algebraic geometry

A Path Less Taken to the Peak of the Math World

June 27, 2017

June Huh thought he had no talent for math until a chance meeting with a legendary mind. A decade later, his unorthodox approach to mathematical thinking has led to major breakthroughs.

Paul Erdős
Abstractions blog

Cash for Math: The Erdős Prizes Live On

June 5, 2017

Paul Erdős placed small bounties on hundreds of unsolved math problems. Over the past 20 years, only a handful have been claimed.

Combinatorics and constellations
combinatorics

A Puzzle of Clever Connections Nears a Happy End

May 30, 2017

The three young friends who devised the “happy ending” problem would become some of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century, but were never able to solve their own puzzle. Now it receives its first big breakthrough.

Icosahedron
geometry

A New Path to Equal-Angle Lines

April 11, 2017

Equiangular lines are an elemental part of geometry. Mathematicians have discovered a tighter limit on the number of such lines that exist in every dimension.

combinatorics

Simple Set Game Proof Stuns Mathematicians

May 31, 2016

A new series of papers has settled a long-standing question related to the popular game in which players seek patterned sets of three cards.

geometry

Sphere Packing Solved in Higher Dimensions

March 30, 2016

The Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska has solved the centuries-old sphere-packing problem in dimensions eight and 24.