I am going into my third year at university of my Math degree and have decided to undertake an independent project under the supervision of a lecturer who is, primarily, a number theorist. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this project (which includes producing a presentation and report) was for the experience.

At first discussion with my supervisor I had no clue what I wanted the project to be about so he threw out some possibilities. We ended up agreeing on the topic “solving polynomials by radicals”: charting the historical and logical development of formulae similar to the quadratic formula for cubic and quartic equations, and a why no such formula can exist for degree 5 and higher.

However, recently I came across a numberphile video with regards to the Collatz conjecture and it seemed quite interesting. I know that as a third year student I definitely do not possess the capabilities of making any sort of impact on the conjecture and that my project would have to focus on its origin and the work done on it so far but the little research I have done has piqued my curiosity.

Would it be worth it to speak to my supervisor about changing the topic? I dont want to irritate him unnecessarily.

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