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If you were a mathematician, which problems would you set out to solve?

By Philip Ball  

“The public image of maths as incomprehen-sible is only part of the story… Some of the hardest problems are the most simply stated”

© Peter M. Fisher/Corbis

Our cultural relationship with the world of mathematics is mythologised like no other academic discipline. While the natural sciences are seen to keep some roots planted in the soil of daily life, in inventions and cures and catastrophes, maths seems to float freely in an abstract realm of numbers, as much an art as a science. More than any white-coated boffin, its proponents…

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