What is the $E_8$ lattice that appears in Viazovska's proof? What makes it special? How do you use it to pack spheres? Eight-dimensional spheres and the exceptional $E_8$ Ursula Whitcher Mathematical Reviews (AMS) In Helsinki this summer, Ukrainian mathematician Maryna Viazovska was awarded a Fields Medal "for the proof thatRead More →

Studying supersymmetry in physically realistic situations requires a tremendous amount of physical and mathematical sophistication. We’re going to simplify as much as possible: all the way down to zero spatial dimensions! Designing supersymmetry Ursula Whitcher Mathematical Reviews (AMS) Mathematicians and physicists both love symmetry, but depending on who you’re talkingRead More →

The Battle of Numbers Our topic is the game called rithmomachia or rithmomachy—literally, the battle of numbers... Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan This month, we're going to explore a very old—indeed, medieval—educational game and correct a mathematical error in a sixteenth-century game manual. But before weRead More →

The Once and Future Feature Column We’re going to look back at the Column’s history, revisit some of our favorite columns, and talk about what comes next. Spoiler alert: We’re recruiting new columnists! Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan The number 24 has many charming properties. ForRead More →

Risk Analysis and Romance Happily ever after for Courtney Milan’s math-major heroine Maria Camilla Lopez involves a master’s degree focused on risk analysis. Let’s explore real-world research in risk and management, from food bank strategies to the moons of Jupiter. Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan FebruaryRead More →

Just as a YouTube algorithm might recommend videos with more and more extremist views, machine learning techniques applied to crime data can magnify existing injustice. … Ursula Whitcher AMS | Mathematical Reviews, Ann Arbor, Michigan What is predictive policing? Predictive policing is a law enforcement technique in which officers chooseRead More →

Ursula Whitcher’s Column Archive Here are Ursula Whitcher’s older Feature Columns. Ursula’s newest columns may be found here. February 2021 – Risk Analysis and Romance (Game Theory and Social Choice, Math and the Sciences, Probability and Statistics) July 2020 – Quantifying Injustice (Game Theory and Social Choice, Probability and Statistics)Read More →