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Richard Elwes
Works at University of Leeds
Attended University of Oxford
Lived in Leeds
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Richard Elwes

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Gosh - Technische Universität München have been holding a workshop around my book Chaotic Fishponds (or Das Chaos im Karpfenteich). I hope it went well!

https://www-m3.ma.tum.de/Allgemeines/WorkshopChaosImKarpfenteich16
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Steinberg's Conjecture

Draw some dots on a page. Connect some of the dots with lines (or edges), which don't cross over each other. What you have created is a planar graph, in the jargon. (In this sort of maths, it's not the exact position of the dots that matters, or whether the edges are straight or curved, but the overall structure of the network.)

Suppose you have done this, in such a way that there are no loops four dots long or five dots long. Perhaps there are loops six dots long: i.e. a dot where you start, do a tour of five other dots, before returning to your starting point, only ever travelling along edges. (Or perhaps there aren't.)

The tricky question is this: can you colour the dots with 3 colours so that pairs of dots which are connected with an edge are never the same colour?

In 1976, Richard Steinberg conjectured that you should always be able to do this. Many people, including Paul Erdős, subsequently tried to prove it. But Steinberg was wrong: in a new paper Vincent Cohen-Addad, Michael Hebdige, Daniel Kral, Zhentao Li, and Esteban Salgado have created a planar graph with no 4- or 5-cycles, which is not 3-colourable. Click through to the pdf of the paper to see how their graph is built!

http://arxiv.org/abs/1604.05108

I got this story from the ever excellent +The Aperiodical:
http://aperiodical.com/2016/04/steinbergs-conjecture-is-false/
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Thanks +Roice Nelson  - I've updated the post.
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Nominations for ICM 2018

Nominations are open for speakers at the 2018 International Congress of Mathematicians, in Rio. Adhering Organizations of the IMU and mathematical societies worldwide are invited to nominate plenary and sectional speakers.

http://www.euro-math-soc.eu/news/16/04/8/nomination-speakers-icm-2018

http://www.icm2018.org/
The Program Committee (PC) for the International Congress of Mathematicians 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 1-9, 2018 has been set up.  The Adhering Organizations of IMU and the mathematical societies worldwide are invited to nominate plenary and sectional speakers. For nominations of speakers please specify whether you suggest them as plenary speakers or section speakers. In case of proposals of section speakers please indicate to which s...
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I see what you mean...! Thanks. I'll point it out to the relevant person.
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Some interesting thoughts on the economic and social consequences of the AI revolution. h/t +Lovkush Agarwal

...those most knowledgeable in the AI field who are now actively sounding the alarm for basic income. During a panel discussion at the end of 2015 at Singularity University, prominent data scientist Jeremy Howard asked “Do you want half of people to starve because they literally can’t add economic value, or not?” before going on to suggest, ”If the answer is not, then the smartest way to distribute the wealth is by implementing a universal basic income.”


https://medium.com/basic-income/deep-learning-is-going-to-teach-us-all-the-lesson-of-our-lives-jobs-are-for-machines-7c6442e37a49#.pmgbkvjwo
(An alternate version of this article was originally published in the Boston Globe)
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We prefer to be called "exotic dancers".
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Statues of famous mathematicians - can you name them?
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Yes, full marks!
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Richard Elwes

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An Interview with our President

Watch a video of European Mathematical Society President Pavel Exner interviewed at CIRM (Centre International de Rencontres Mathématiques). 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMMQJRaY3to
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Maria J. Esteban becomes SIAM Fellow

Maria J. Esteban, from the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the University of Paris-Dauphine was nominated "SIAM Fellow" of the class of 2016 "For distinguished research in partial differential equations and for advancing the profile of applied mathematics internationally".

Maria Esteban is a former president of the French learned society SMAI, current president of ICIAM, and a long-standing friend of the EMS. So we are particularly happy to congratulate her on this latest honour.

A list of the nominated SIAM Fellow of the class of 2016 is available on the website:
http://fellows.siam.org/index.php?sort=year&value=2016
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EMS reacts to persecution of Turkish academics

European Mathematical Society President Pavel Exner has written
letters of protest to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, calling for the release of the imprisoned Turkish academics and the cessation of the ongoing academic persecution in Turkey.

#Freedom4Academics4Peace

http://www.euro-math-soc.eu/news/16/03/29/ems-reacts-persecution-turkish-academics

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/16/turkey-academics-jailed-signing-petition
The European Mathematical Society is very concerned as a result of reports on persecutions of peaceful Turkish academics who signed the petition "Academics for peace" protesting violence in Turkey's ethnically Kurdish southeastern region, and calling on the government to make peace with Kurdish rebels. According to reports, at least three of the signatories, one of them a mathematician, have been placed in pretrial detention; at least 30 other ac...
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What is the most efficient way to pack spheres?

Since 1998 (or 2015 if you require very high standards of proof) we have known the answer: Thomas Hales proved that the method greengrocers use for piling up oranges is indeed the best you can ever do.

But of course, mathematicians are not only interested in the 3-dimensional world. In particular, in 1965 John Leech discovered a remarkably beautiful and efficient way of packing hyperspheres in 24-dimensional space. And in brand new work, Maryna Viazovska and collaborators have finally succeeded in proving that the Leech Lattice is indeed optimal! This follows from other work by Viazovska, solving the analogous problem in 8-dimensional space.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

https://gilkalai.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/a-breakthrough-by-maryna-viazovska-lead-to-the-long-awaited-solutions-for-the-densest-packing-problem-in-dimensions-8-and-24/
Maryna Viazovska The news Maryna Viazovska solved the densest packing problem in dimension eight! Subsequently, Maryna Viazovska with Henry Cohn, Steve Miller, Abhinav Kumar, and Danilo Radchenko s…
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On another tragic day in Europe, our thoughts are with all our friends, families, and colleagues in Belgium. ‪#‎Bruxelles‬ ‪#‎Brussels‬
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"Alfred Nobel—pitiful creature, ought to have been suffocated by a humane physician when he made his howling entrance into this life. Greatest virtues: keeping his nails clean and never being a burden to anyone. Greatest weaknesses: having neither wife and kids nor sunny disposition nor hearty appetite…. Important events in his life: none.”

- A short autobiography by Alfred Nobel
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Work
Occupation
Teaches & writes about mathematics
Employment
  • University of Leeds
    Mathematician, present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Leeds - Oxford - London - Freiburg
Story
Tagline
A UK based maths lecturer & writer.
Introduction
Lives in Yorkshire, writes about Maths.
Bragging rights
Author of Maths 1001 & How to Build a Brain (AKA Mathematics Without The Boring Bits) & some other stuff, mostly on the subject of maths
Education
  • University of Oxford
    Mathematics, 1997 - 2001
  • University of Leeds
    Mathematical logic, 2001 - 2005
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Gender
Male