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Sphere Packing in Dimensions 8 and 24

In a remarkable new paper, Maryna Viazovska has put forth a proof of a most efficient way to pack unit spheres in dimension 8. In a follow-up paper, Henry Cohn, Abhinav Kumar, Stephen D. Miller, Danylo Radchenko, and Viazovska have a similar result in dimension 24. Dimensions 8 and 24 are especially interesting and easy cases, because there are very

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Hello from Montenegro

by Nela (Vukmirović) Milošević ’08 I am writing from my homeland Montenegro, a small country in the Balkans, and in this post I just wanted to give a perspective from someone who now lives far away from Williams. I am class of 2008, and I decided to go to Williams after attending Li Po Chun UWC

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Learning the Cube

I’ve had a lot of fun with some cubing events recently in Williamstown. The first was an official cube event organized by local student Ric Donati. For results see https://www.worldcubeassociation.org/results/c.php?top3=Top+3&competitionId=WilliamsWinter2016 http://cubecomps.com/live.php?cid=1377 The second was earlier today, a cube workshop run by myself and my son, Cameron, at the Milne Library in town. We hope to

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FrankFest 2016

Williams College hosted a conference on the occasion of Frank Morgan’s retirement from Williams College. The conference webpage is: web.williams.edu/Mathematics/csilva/FrankFest-2016.html

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To bead, or not to bead: II

This is a sequel to an earlier post: To bead, or not to bead. In that post my daughter Kayla and I did a fuse bead picture of the Fibonacci spiral, and we talked about how it can be used to give a geometric proof to the sum of the squares of the first n Fibonacci

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“The Magic of Math” by Art Benjamin

by Gabriel Ngwe ’17 “The Magic of Math” is a book on general mathematics which aims to reveal the underlying magic. What lies behind “The Magic of Math” is the same thing that lies behind magic in general: manipulation and redirection. These themes underlie the book, and Arthur Benjamin uses them well to explain the

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Egyptian Fractions

by Nam Nguyen ‘19 Numbers and basic computation appeared in Ancient Egypt as early as 2700 BCE. But you might not know that Ancient Egyptians demanded that every fraction have 1 in the numerator. They wanted to write any rational between 0 and 1 as a sum of such “unit” fractions. Such sums are called

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Interview with Mia Smith ’16

by Nam Nguyen ’19 Smith tells Nguyen about her experience as a math major in Williams College   When did you discover your passion for mathematics? At 3 or 4 years old, I was captivated by the Traffic Jam Puzzle my parents bought for me. I sat down for hours playing the game.However, it wasn’t

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Interview with Julie Blackwood

by John Herrera ’17 How did you get interested in applying mathematics to ecology? When I was applying for college, I had to apply to a major before I went to college. I was looking through the majors, and I saw applied math, and I thought, “Not bad. Check.” Later my professor said, “Well, why don’t

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Nebraska Conference for Women

by Sarah Fleming Over Dead Week, Nina Pande and I attended the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We had a wonderful experience, and we are grateful to the Clare Boothe Luce Program and the Math Department for providing us with the opportunity to go. Over the course of

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