Maths prize hits US$1m
A Texas banker is upping the ante to US$1 million for whoever solves a tricky problem that has been dogging mathematicians since the 1980s. The Providence, Rhode Island-based American Mathematical Society on Tuesday said US$1 million would be awarded for the publication of a solution to the Beal Conjecture number theory problem. Dallas banker Andrew Beal first offered the Beal Prize in 1997 for US$5,000. Over the years, the amount has grown. American Mathematical Society spokesman Michael Breen says a solution is more difficult than the one for a related problem, Fermat’s Last Theorem, which did not have a solution for hundreds of years.
House votes to keep Gitmo
The House of Representatives has voted in favor of keeping open the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The vote on Tuesday broke mostly along party lines and upheld a law that blocks the use of taxpayer funds to build or renovate facilities in the US to house suspected terrorists and other prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. It was the first vote since President Barack Obama said last month that he was still determined to close the facility.
Shooter pleads insanity
A judge on Tuesday accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity by James Holmes, the alleged gunman accused of killing 12 people in last year’s Colorado theater massacre. Judge Carlos Samour accepted the plea after reading out a list of conditions, including that the 25-year-old had agreed to undergo a court-ordered “sanity examination.” Holmes is accused of wounding another 70 people when he allegedly opened fire in July last year in a packed midnight screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.
Lizard named after Morrison
A giant lizard that lived 40 million years ago at a time when Earth was a hothouse has been named in honor of rock singer Jim Morrison, paleontologists said yesterday. About 1.8m from snout to tail and tipping the scales at up to 27kg, the plant-eating reptile is one of the biggest known lizards ever to have lived on land. A fossil of the beast, found in sediment in Myanmar, has been dated to the late-middle Eocene period. The paleontologists have named the long-extinct species Barbaturex morrisoni. Barbaturex means “bearded king,” after the team found ridges on the underside of the jaw. Morrisoni is in tribute to Doors frontman Morrison, famed for his fascination with reptiles and shamanism.