# Mathematics

A colleague in Jerusalem observed that aspects of Spielman’s research brought to mind a math problem that had been stumping people since Dwight Eisenhower was in office — the Kadison-Singer math problem. The 1950s? A puzzle that wasn't even from a paper, but from the “Related Questions” section of a paper on extensions of pure states?

Platonic solids are regular bodies in three dimensions, such as the cube and icosahedron, and have been known for millennia. They feature prominently in the natural world wherever geometry and symmetry are important, for instance in lattices and quasi-crystals, as well as fullerenes and viruses

Platonic solids have counterparts in four dimensions. Swiss mathematician Ludwig Schlaefli and Alicia Boole Stott showed that there are six of them, five of which have very strange symmetries. Stott, the third daughter of mathematician George Boole, is best known for establishing the term "polytope" for a convex solid in four dimensions, had a unique intuition into the geometry of four dimensions, which she visualised via three-dimensional cross-sections.

Exciting, right? Obviously this can be misused and the fact that its potential problems (if they can forecast it, they can manipulate it) are so obvious is why policymakers will address that. The brilliance will be what this sort of capability can do for science.

The Jacobi iterative method, a 169-year-old math strategy, may soon get a new lease on life.

On one occasion - I remember it as it was yesterday - my uncle picked me up and while he kept me with his arms he asked me "Ok, let's see this. Tommaso, what is the square root of 5968?". Mind you, I do not remember the exact number; I only recall it was between 5000 and 7000. I watched up into the void for two seconds, and I replied "77.3". Uncle Ciccio put me down and ran for the pocket calculator - he did have one, although they were a real novelty those years.

Cell migration, which is involved in wound healing, cancer and tumor growth, and embryonic growth and development, has been a topic of interest to mathematicians and biologists for decades.

Modern maths has a "Heath Robinson" type approach - at least philosophically - with its many sizes of infinity and logical paradoxes. Would this be the same for ETs? Also, what if they experience time and space differently from us? Perhaps they can only reason using flashes of insight?

Or, perhaps topology is easy, but counting, for them, is an advanced concept few understand? Or perhaps they use quantum logic or some other logic we haven't thought of yet? Or, might they see everything as fractals?

What do you get when you mix theorists in computer science with evolutionary biologists? You get an algorithm to explain sex.

A fascinating mystery of evolution is how sexual recombination and natural selection produced the teeming diversity of life that exists today. The answer could lie in the game that genes play during sexual recombination, so computer scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, created an algorithm to describe the strategy used by these genes in this game.

“Wow, there’s a lot of plaques of fat. I need to stop eating French fries.”

Nine years later, the “cardiac tissue engineer,” is trying to re-create the human heart on a chip.