Some like math and others not so much.  Either way, we have all been exposed to mathematics, whether basic equations in elementary school, for finances managing the household or, in some cases, as part of a career.  A fascinating mathematical aspect is that every now and again, an amateur helps solve a problem that has perplexed experts for decades.

The problem here is one posed by a University of Chicago student named Edward Nelson in 1950.  Known as the Hadwiger-Nelson problem, it is one of the most famous open math problems.  It asks simply…

What is the fewest number of colors that can be represented on a graph with potentially infinite connections of equal length?

The amateur mathematician, a biologist named Aubrey de Grey, made significant progress on the solution to the problem.  For years, experts knew the answer, the smallest number- or the chromatic number– of colors, was 4, 5, 6 or 7.  In his work,   de Gray narrowed the chromatic number to at least 5, thus eliminating 4.

Here’s a good piece with more detail.

~ Brian Kasal- The Leadership Matrix

Click here- Decades-Old Graph Problem Yields to Amateur Mathematician

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