Friday, February 12, 2021

Piecing it together

 Undergraduates Hunt for Special Tetrahedra That Fit Together

A group of MIT undergraduates is searching for tetrahedra that tile space, the latest effort in a millennia-long inquiry. They’ve already made a new discovery.

What Aristotle started over 2,000 years ago, a team of 30 undergraduates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is continuing. They’ve been capitalizing on a recent mathematical advance that has injected new life into a millennia-long quest to identify shapes that can perfectly fill, or tile, three-dimensional space.

“It’s quite exciting but also at the same time a little intimidating to know some of the greatest minds have been working on this topic,” said Yuyuan Luo, a first-year MIT student participating in the work organized by MIT professor Bjorn Poonen. 

Aristotle’s interest in the question arose as a rebuke to Plato, his teacher. ......... read on .........

I am seeing these issues everywhere now. How little geometry, it seems, we actually understand. Next stop protein folding?

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