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  • The Kepler conjecture, named after the 17th-century German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler, is a mathematical conjecture about sphere packing in three-dimensional Euclidean space. It says that no arrangement of equally sized spheres filling space has a greater average density than that of the cubic close packing and hexagonal close packing arrangements. The density of these arrangements is slightly greater than 74%. In 1998 Thomas Hales, following an approach suggested by Fejes Tóth, announced that he had a proof of the Kepler conjecture. Hales' proof is a proof by exhaustion involving the checking of many individual cases using complex computer calculations. Referees have said that they are "99% certain" of the correctness of Hales' proof, so the Kepler conjecture is now very close to being accepted as a theorem.

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