# Author Archives: Mackenzie Simper

## Improving Nature’s Randomized Control Trial

Does a higher body mass index (BMI) increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms? Mendelian randomization is one method that can be used to study this question without worrying about unmeasured variables (e.g., weight, height, or sex) that could affect the results. A recent paper published in the Annals of Statistics developed a new technique for Mendelian randomization which improves the ability to measure cause-and-effect relationships.

## What’s the Chance a Random Problem Has a Solution?

Consider a graph, which is a set of vertices connected with edges. Your task is to assign two colors to the vertices of the graph, but under the constraint that if vertices share an edge, then they must be different colors. Can you solve this problem and satisfy the constraint? Now suppose that the edges of the graph are chosen randomly; for example, by flipping a coin for every two vertices to determine if there is an edge connecting them. What’s the chance that you can still find a coloring which satisfies the constraint?

## A solid which floats in every orientation: An answer to a problem from the Scottish Book

If a solid object floats in water in every position, is it necessarily a sphere? In a paper published this year in the Annals of Mathematics, Dmitry Ryabogin proves the answer is “no”.

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