Best concluding line of the day


Kepler vindicated

Kepler vindicated

Business Insider’s Dylan Love reports on final proof of Kepler’s hypothesis on the efficient stacking of spheres. 

Seventeenth century mathematician Johannes Kepler defined some basic rules for  how the planets move, and given his predilections for contemplating spheres, he suggested in 1611 that the most efficient way to stack spheres was in a pyramid formation.

But he was unable to prove it in a mathematically satisfactory way, and the idea remained unproven for 400 years. New Scientist reports that a scientist named Thomas Hales successfully confirmed Kepler’s hypothesis to be true this past Sunday with help from a computer.

Hales first proved it himself by hand in a 300-page paper in 1998, but his solution was only deemed 99% certain to be correct. Seeking that last 1% of certainty, he enlisted help from computers under what he called “The Flyspeck Project.” Two computer programs, Isabelle and HOL Light, went to work formally validating each of the steps in logic required to arrive at the conclusion that spheres are most efficiently arranged in a pyramid shape.

Sure, Hales is glad at having his hard work confirmed to be totally correct, but the real significance of the Flyspeck Project is that computers can do the tedious work of double-checking logical proofs while mathematicians are left to ponder their next great problems.

“This technology cuts the mathematical referees out of the verification process,” Hales told New Scientist. “Their opinion about the correctness of the proof no longer matters.”

All that is fascinating, of course, but here’s Mr. Love’s own contribution of genius:

Grocers around the world rejoice as they continue stacking oranges the way they always have.



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4 responses to “Best concluding line of the day

  1. Walt

    Dude –

    No post on Robin Williams passing away? One of the funniest, most talented people on the planet. He apparently committed suicide via hunging. Hanging? He hunged himself. The coroner said it was a cinch to solve. I must admit, it made me all choked up.

    And from what they are reporting, it is possible, POSSIBLE!! He was doing the old choke and stroke. I don’t buy that. A man of his means doesn’t go to a rub and tug for that? Plus he lived in San Francisco, ground zero for hot little Asians. So that makes no sense. I DON’T BUY IT!!

    I think he was suffering from severe clinical depression, which is sad. Do you know what severe clinical depression feels like Dude? Just read a few of your posts, AND THEN YOU WILL KNOW HOW IT FEELS!! Or save yourself the pain, and just trust me on this one.

    Anyhows, he had a remarkable career. He was BRILLIANT in Forrest Gump. And he could play serious roles, like he did in “Love Story” with his role as Jenny. I really liked him in that. And he won an Academy Award as best supporting actor in Casa Blanca I believe.

    He was a gifted, brilliant comedian and actor, but apparently a troubled soul. I hope he now finds the peace which eluded him on this earth.

    Your Pal,

  2. AJ

    The lost (and found) notes of Archimedes, the king of spheres.

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