Hypergraphs Reveal Solution to 50-Year-Old Problem

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In 1850, Thomas Penyngton Kirkman, a mathematician when he wasn’t fulfilling his main responsibility as a vicar in the Church of England, described his “schoolgirl problem”: “Fifteen young ladies in a school walk out three abreast for seven days in succession: it is required to arrange them daily, so that no two shall walk twice abreast.” To a modern mathematician, this kind of problem ...

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