Researcher solves decades-old maths problem



How do you solve a mathematical problem that’s seen no progress in 40 years? Dr Sam Mattheus, affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, went to the US for a year to find out. He combined his knowledge of finite geometry with traditional graph theory and not only solved a decades-old problem, but also offered an innovative alternative for the current approach to Ramsey problems. "Finite geometry can hopefully also offer solutions for calculating other Ramsey numbers," says Mattheus.

The question Mattheus solved was a so-called Ramsey number. These are fundamental quantities that reflect the limits of possible disorder and are notoriously difficult to calculate. ...
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