The Nobel Prize is a set of annual international awards bestowed in a number of categories by Swedish and Norwegian institutions in recognition of academic, cultural, and/or scientific advances. Have you been keeping track of the 2016 winners? Check out Solve set 53: Noble Prize to learn more about the winners while challenging your skills.

This week’s Solve is inspired by Noble Prizes. From Medicine to Peace to Physics – this week’s set covers your math, science and  even statistics skills.

See if you can solve Problem 1: Nobel Prize for Literature.

The 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature was won by rock and roll poet, Bob Dylan. One of his most famous songs, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, opens with the signature line, “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” While the answer may be blowing in the wind, we can estimate how far a person would walk over 80 years. A moderately active person takes around 7,500 steps per day. Which of these is closest to the total distance walked over that time?



Up for a more of a challenge? See if you can solve Problem 5: Nobel Prize in Physics

The Nobel Prize in Physics went to David Thouless, Duncan Haldane, and Michael Kosterlitz for their theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter. The official press release stated that “Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that only change step-wise”. One such discrete invariant of a 2-dimensional surface is called the Euler Characteristic. Imagine that the two-holed torus was built out of tiny identical cubical blocks, all centered at integer lattice points in 3-dimensional space. Let VV, EE, and FF be the number of vertices, edges, and faces of the resulting surface. (Vertices, edges, and faces only count if they are part of the exterior of the object.) It turns out that VEFVE+F is always the same, no matter how small the cubical blocks are. What is it?


Also, check out the official Nobel Prize website here for more information about nominees, ceremonies and resources:

Solve set 53: Noble Peace