Biggest Math Stories--2014?
As each New Year begins, it is fitting to look back at the Old Year. For example, can you state important things that happened mathematically in the past year? Discoveries...New theorems.... Revolutionary leaps?
One hopefully could build a lengthy list via exhausting searches on the Internet. Or, one could turn to the January/February issue (2014) of Discover, which provides a recap of the "100 Top Stories of 2014."
Any idea how many mathematical stories are part of this special list of 100 science stories? As part of this issue, readers were supposed to vote on which should be designated as the "top" science stories.
Consider these FIVE mathematical items from the issue. As you read them, ask if (and what) you knew about them? And, would the typical person look at this list with surprised awe...or rather conclude that doing math has little value.
So, how did you do? Recognize or know anything about these mathematical stories? Do you know of other 2014 math discoveries that should have made the list?
- [#15] Ken Ono (Emory University) and his discovery of four infinite families of identities (e.g. [ab]n = anbn), which are generalizations of the Rogers-Ramanujan identities
- [#30] Kyung-Suk Kim (Brown University) and his general mathematical description of how the surfaces of common rubbery materials fold
- Maryam Mirzakhani (Stanford University) being the first woman honored with a Fields Medal, for her work in geometry (hyperbolic surfaces and billiard ball trajectories)
- [#81] Discovery of 21 ancient bamboo strips (China, 300 B.C.), representing the oldest known decimal multiplication table
- [#94] Researchers at the University College London created a mathematical formula that accurately predicts the rise and fall of people's happiness
And some homework...as 2015 passes day-by-day, try to record the mathematical stories that should make next year's list!