A Pitt Computer Team Just Proved a 400-Year-Old Theory

Hundreds of years after Johannes Kepler presented a theory on how to best stack spherical objects, Pitt reps confirm that the German mathematician was correct.



 

Go figure: It takes some geniuses at the University of Pittsburgh and a computer program to prove a 400-year-old theory. Mathematician and all-around genius Johannes Kepler once said in the 1600s that in order to keep spherical objects in place, they must be stacked in a pyramid. He couldn't back his claim mathematically, though.

Fast-forward to 1998, when Thomas Hales at Pitt put together a 300-page proof. As Slate reports, Hales' team of reviewers spent four years analyzing data, only to come away feeling 99.9 percent sure the theory checked out. That wasn't good enough, so they'd developed software to get the job done. We're happy to report that Kepler's philosophy (finally!) has been verified.

On your next pass through a grocery store produce section, think of the time spent on ensuring those oranges stay in place.

Hat-tip to Adam Shuck of Eat That, Read This for the find.



 

#GoodNews: Keisel remains part of Steelers family


PHOTO BY LAURA PETRILLA

 

It doesn’t matter what transpired leading up to this development. All that matters is the end result. Steelers Nation today received glorious news — that Brett Keisel will, as he said, “finish what I started in 2002 with the Steelers.” The team re-signed its beloved defensive end for what will be his last season.

Read our profile on the beard-sporting athlete.

 

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

Phil Collins + Playoff Baseball = Goosebumps

Phil Collins + Playoff Baseball = Goosebumps

If this new video from Benstonium doesn’t make you want to run through a brick wall, check your pulse.
Q+A: 'The Fault in Our Stars' Author John Green

Q+A: 'The Fault in Our Stars' Author John Green

As the film adaptation of his book takes over Pittsburgh, John Green is relishing the chance to be part of the process — and the city.
Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

Pittsburgh Offers Free Holiday Parking

The city hopes that offering free parking to shoppers on some of the busiest commercial days of the year will give small businesses a lift.
Success of 'Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl' Humbles Film's Makers

Success of 'Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl' Humbles Film's Makers

The movie, shot in Pittsburgh, defies the conventions of the budding teen-drama genre.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

City Guide: Terrific Things to Do in the 'Burgh and Beyond

The towns, neighborhoods, boroughs, main streets and small corners of western Pennsylvania that we call home -- and what we love about them.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Best of the 'Burgh 2015

Once again, our editors scour the city for 57 FRESH TAKES on our favorite things about Pittsburgh, including place to "get the boot," witness a nerd fantasy come to life, and snap a selfie with a furry.
Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Best of the 'Burgh 2015: Readers' Poll

Burger joints. Bar bands. Radio hosts. Here's the most popular stuff in town.
Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

Brewed in the 'Burgh, the Evolution of Our City's Brewpubs

A long-awaited update to Pennsylvania's beer-selling law prompted change to the region's brewpub scene.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Everything That's Awesome About Pittsburgh Today
Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks all weekend long, if you know where and when to look.

Comments


Pittsburgh, only cooler
Why Pittsburgh's Sister Bridges 'Should Stay Yellow'

Why Pittsburgh's Sister Bridges 'Should Stay Yellow'

PittGirl's says, quite simply, no other color will do.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
What I Learned on the Road about Pittsburgh's Restaurants

What I Learned on the Road about Pittsburgh's Restaurants

Thanks to chefs willing to travel and taste out-of-town dishes, our food culture continues to flourish.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
7 Adorable Pittsburgh Boutiques for Baby

7 Adorable Pittsburgh Boutiques for Baby

If you have a little one on the way, or you’re shopping for one, check out these locally owned boutiques that simply ooze cuteness.

Comments


The Regatta by Land, Sea or Air

The Regatta by Land, Sea or Air

Don't let the tumultuous rivers keep you away — there are plenty of reasons to take a trip to the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta this weekend.

Comments


How to Make the Ultimate July Fourth Dessert

How to Make the Ultimate July Fourth Dessert

Be the hit at your party with these reinvented ice-cream floats.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Raising the Bar: The Fierce “Pyramid” Necklace

Raising the Bar: The Fierce “Pyramid” Necklace

Part of the Mod Evil’s Simple Geometry line, the Pyramid Bar necklace adds edge to your wardrobe.

Comments


This week's buzz from the PM editors
WYEP Music Fest: A Solid Excuse to Visit Schenley Plaza

WYEP Music Fest: A Solid Excuse to Visit Schenley Plaza

Songwriter Martin Sexton will headline the 18th edition of the free outdoor concert.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Planning the Perfect Wedding, No Matter the Weather

Planning the Perfect Wedding, No Matter the Weather

With a little creativity, you can have a beautiful celebration in any season.

Comments


The latest tips and trends to refresh your home.
Update Your Bedroom with the Help of an Expert

Update Your Bedroom with the Help of an Expert

Get inspired by this room designed by Joann Fullen.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pitt Turns to Washington to Fill Key Role

Pitt Turns to Washington to Fill Key Role

The school's new senior vice chancellor and chief legal officer will start in the near future.

Comments


Thinking outside the box (score)
Surprise! Pittsburgh's Soccer Team is Worthy of Your Attention

Surprise! Pittsburgh's Soccer Team is Worthy of Your Attention

So what if the Riverhounds aren't a major-league team. If you're not going to their games, you are missing out.

Comments


Award-winning sports commentary by Sean Conboy
R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

R.I.P. Corporate Penguins, 2009-2014

Fire Bylsma? Fire Shero? The Penguins' problems run deeper.

Comments