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Amateur mathematician cracks decades-old math problem

Aubrey de Grey, an outspoken antiaging researcher, unraveled a problem that has stumped mathematicians for more than 60 years, Quanta Magazine reports. The Hadwiger-Nelson problem, as it’s known, involves figuring out the minimum number of colors you’d need to color points on a plane, ensuring that points one unit away from one another aren’t depicted with the same color. In the 1950s, mathematicians figured out that the number was somewhere between four and seven. But progress stalled until last week, when De Grey—who does math problems as a way to take a rest from his day job—posted a preprint on arXiv arguing that the minimum number of colors is at least five.

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