Skip to main content
Significant Digits For Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news.

4 medalists

Four winners of the Fields Medal — like the Nobel Prize for math but awarded only once every four years, and only to mathematicians age 40 and younger — were announced Wednesday: Peter Scholze, Caucher Birkar, Alessio Figalli and Akshay Venkatesh. Scholze, at 30, is one of the youngest winners ever. His website includes recent papers with titles such as “p-adic geometry,” “Projectivity of the Witt vector affine Grassmannian” and “Perfectoid spaces and their Applications.” [The New York Times]

£45 to £100 tickets

The 2018 World Chess Championship will be held at The College, the former home of Central Saint Martins College, in the Holborn district of central London. Tickets to the November match will run from £45 to £100. The defending champion and world No. 1, Magnus Carlsen, will face American challenger and world No. 2 Fabiano Caruana over the course of the three-week match. Caruana is the first American to vie for an uncontested world championship since Bobby Fischer in 1972. [BBC]

41 percent of hospital beds

My colleagues Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Anna Maria Barry-Jester have been publishing a series on the role of religion in health care. In their most recent piece, they explore the fact that insurers can funnel patients to Catholic hospitals, which in turn can restrict the reproductive care available to the patient. “Thanks to a wave of mergers and consolidations that has been reshaping the U.S. health care system,” they write, “Catholic hospitals are playing a bigger role in patient care.” This is especially true in the Midwest. In Wisconsin, for example, 41 percent of hospital beds are in Catholic hospitals. [FiveThirtyEight]

81 candidates

Former President Obama tweeted out to his 102 million followers a list of 81 Democratic candidates in the midterm elections that he was “proud to endorse.” The candidates are diverse geographically as well as in the offices they are seeking. They include candidates for governor, House, Senate and state legislatures. [USA Today]

More than 100 episodes

People like to say that the period of roughly 2016 to the present has been unprecedentedly bizarre and that if you traveled here in a time machine you could do little but gawk and think “WTF?” But I submit that the era of 1986-1990, when NBC aired four seasons and more than 100 episodes of a sitcom starring a Muppet-esque alien from Melmac who lands in a suburban garage and then just, like, lives there with the family — and I think in one episode turns the AC up in an attempt to create an ice rink in the basement — was much weirder. My theory is complicated now, however, as Warner Bros. is preparing to reboot the series. [Variety]


That’s the contact expiry and possible year of departure from “Jeopardy!” of its longtime host, Alex Trebek. So Eden sank to grief, so dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. [TMZ]

If you see a significant digit in the wild, please send it to @ollie.

Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.