## News from the world of Maths

Agreeing to pay £50,000 for something worth £2 wouldn't win you any haggling competitions. In mathematics, however, a similar result can bring you international acclaim. This is the case with recent progress towards the famous twin prime conjecture.

An "electric atomosphere" is not what you expect at a maths lecture. But it is what prevailed when Andrew Wiles announced his proof of a 350-year-old-old problem, Fermat's last theorem, exactly 20 years ago.

Alan Turing was a mathematician and WWII code breaker who was convicted of homosexuality in the 1950s, chemically castrated as a result, died young in mysterious circumstances and still hasn't received all the recognition

he deserves. His life clearly makes great material for a play — but a musical? We talk to the directors and lead actor of *The Universal Machine*.

Deciding who is to blame and who should pay for the financial crisis will be a hot topic at the G8 next week. Financial mathematics received a lot of bad press in the aftermath of the crunch and many believe that it was the popularity of mathematical models – often borrowed from physics — that put the financial system at risk. But now models borrowed from biology are helping us understand how this risk might be reduced.

A quick and easy way of adding using handshakes.

At 9:59 pm (UK time) on Friday, May 31, 2013, asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail serenely past Earth, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon, its closest approach for at least the next two centuries. And you can also catch a glimpse of the asteroid by the power of the internet.

Is there a perfect voting system? In the 1950s the economist Kenneth Arrow asked himself this question and found that the answer is no, at least in the setting he imagined.

Ben Allanach is a theoretical physicist who has worked at CERN and is interested in something called *supersymmetry*, which predicts particles that could be dark matter and might be produced in the collisions at CERN. Watch Ben explain it all in this TEDx lecture.