Mathematician cracks centuries-old problem about the number 33

Mathematician cracks centuries-old problem about the number 33

The number 33 has surprising depthSmith Chetanachan/Alamy Stock Photo By Donna LuAdd 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…


The number 33 has surprising depth

The number 33 has surprising depth

Smith Chetanachan/Alamy Stock Photo

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+ z3for all possible values of k?

We …

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