Mathematician cracks centuries-old problem about the number 33

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    Mathematician cracks centuries-old problem about the number 33


    Physics



    14 March 2019

    The number 33 has surprising depth

    The number 33 has surprising depth

    Smith Chetanachan/Alamy Stock Photo

    By Donna Lu

    Add three cubed numbers, and what do you get? It is a question that has puzzled mathematicians for centuries.

    In 1825, a mathematician known as S. Ryley proved that any fraction could be represented as the sum of three cubes of fractions. In the 1950s, mathematician Louis Mordell asked whether the same could be done for integers, or whole numbers. In other words, are there integers k, x, y and z such that k = x3 + y3 + z3 for all possible values of k?

    We …

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