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No one knows how to find the smallest shape that can cover all other shapes of a certain width. But high school geometry is getting us closer to an answer.
Mathematicians regard the Collatz conjecture as a quagmire and warn each other to stay away. But now Terence Tao has made more progress than anyone in decades.
We finally know how big a set of numbers can get before it has to contain a pattern known as a “polynomial progression.”
Three physicists stumbled across an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.