There’s a nice article in Nature News about the solution to the Kervaire invariant problem mentioned here. It’s an excellent and accurate description of the result and its significance, except for the last paragraph, on “Brane science”, where the author can’t resist following the convention of appending some nonsensical hype about string theory:
Because the new approach involves looking at topological problems of a manifold from the perspective of a space that has one more dimension, it is analogous to the use of one-dimensional strings as the basis of zero-dimensional (point-like) fundamental particles. Similarly, it has become popular for cosmologists to study the behaviour of space-time from the perspective of higher-dimensional ‘branes’ that interact with one another. This is why studying the Kervaire invariant problem might offer useful mathematical techniques to fundamental physics.
Update: This news is now featured on the AMS web-site, together with the misleading hype about strings and branes:
Ball explains “although it looks at face value to be extremely abstruse, the mathematics involved in the solution might be relevant to quantum theory and string theory, not to mention brane theory, which has been invoked to explore some issues in Big Bang cosmology.”