Edited by Allyn Jackson, AMS
Contributors: Mike Breen (AMS), Claudia Clark(freelance science writer), Lisa DeKeukelaere (2004 AMS Media Fellow), Annette Emerson (AMS)
"Up a Lazy River," by Brian Hayes. American Scientist, NovemberDecember 2006, pages 490494.
"Kosakenzipfel." Frankfurter AllgemeineZeitung, 5 November 2006;
"Solved: the perfect way to cut a cake", by Amarendra Swarup. New Scientist newsservice, 6 November 2006;
"Taarten land eindelijk eerlijk te delen (Finally an honest way to divide cake or land)". Der Volkskrant, 6 November 2006;
"Dividerela torta, la soluzione perfetta (To divide the cake, the perfect solution)", by Roberto Verrastro. Panorama, 10 November 2006;
"Sokriegt jeder mehr (This way everyone gets more)", by Philipp Berens. Süddeutsche Zeitung, 8 November 2006;
"Sharing your cake and eating it too", by Nikhil Swaminathan. ScientificAmerican Online, 6 November 2006;
"Cientistas propoem novo método matemático para cortar bolo (Scientists propose a new method for cutting a cake)", by Carlos Orsi. Estadao.com.br, 6 November 2006;
"Math principles can help resolve disputes". United Press International, 6 November 2006;
"Cutting the Cake". Quirks and Quarks, hosted by Bob McDonald. Radio One, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 18 November 2006;
"Grazer Forscher als `Weltstar': Grazer Uni  Professor fand nun zusammen mit USKollegen heraus, wie man Torte richtig teilt (Graz researcher as `World star': Graz University professor discovers, with US colleagues, how one properly divides a cake)", by Dieter Demmelmair. Grazer Woche, November 2006;
"This math theory is a piece of cake", by Kitta Mcpherson. New Jersey Star Ledger, 26 November 2006.
"A Fair Slice," by Julie Rehmeyer. Science News, 16 December 2006, page 390.
"The Kindest Cut," by Steve Mirsky. Scientific American, February 2007, page 94.

Media outlets around the world ran stories on the research described in "Better Ways to Cut a Cake", an article that appeared in the December 2006 issue of the Notices of the AMS. The article, by Steven Brams, Michael Jones, and Christian Klamer, centers on the mathematics of fair division. The "you cut, I choose" method of dividing a cake between two people has been used since time immemorial. But if the two cake eaters value the cake differentlysay Alice prefers the part with chocolate icing, while Bob doesn't care which kind of icing he getsthe cutandchoose method might leave one person less satisfied than the other. The BramsJonesKlamler article describes a method called "Surplus Procedure" that can result in, for example, both cakeeaters feeling that they got 65 percent of what they wanted.The research presented in the article is theoretical, but it could have applications to problems like how to divide land. Moreover, the research shows how a mathematical approach can provide better and more precise ways of resolving disputes. A threeminuteclip on the Discovery Channel illustrates the research (if the clip does not come up, do a video search on "cake").  Allyn Jackson

"Students score well with fantasy football," ESPN.com, 9 December 2006;
"San Jose Math Class Lands on ESPN, Thanks to Fantasy Football." KCBS, 27 November 2006.
"Not Just a Pretty Equation": Review of Mathematics and Common Sense: A Case of Creative Tension, by Philip J. Davis. Reviewed by John Ball. NewScientist, 25 November 2006, pages 5455.
The author of this book, Philip J. Davis, is a mathematician at Brown University and a prolific commentator on many different aspects of mathematics, including how the subject is perceived by the general public. The reviewer is John Ball, a University of Oxford mathematician and president of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). Calling the book "delightful and informative", Ball uses the occasion of the review to present some compelling examples of the impact of mathematics in modern life. He also discusses the story of Grigory Perelman, the only mathematician ever to have declined the Fields Medal, commonly considered the "Nobel Prize" of mathematics. (As IMU president, Ball was the one who announced to the world, at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid in August 2006, that Perelman would not accept the medal. Click here for citations of some of the worldwide media coverage of this historic event.) Ball mentions that one of the many "intelligent and approachable essays" in Davis's book discusses public perceptions of mathematics. The book recounts a story about a television reporter who once came to visit the AMS headquarters office in Providence, Rhode Island. Paraphrasing Davis's story, Ball writes: "[The reporter] had passed the building many times and often wondered what on earth went on inside. `But I really didn't want to know,' he said."
"How to End the Math Wars," by Claudia Wallis. Time Online Edition, 19 November 2006. The New York Times, 14 November 2006.
"The Biggest Questions Ever Asked" and "Journey Through Time". Special sections, NewScientist, 18 November 2006.
These special sections were published in celebration of the 50th anniversary of New Scientist magazine. The first one, "The Biggest Questions Ever Asked" does indeed tackle biggies, such as, Do we have free will?, What is Life?, and What happens after you die?. There are articles of several pages, together with short sidebars containing commentaries from an eclectic bunch of thinkers, including some mathematicians. Among the articles, two have a mathematical flavor: "What is reality?" by Roger Penrose, and "Will we ever have a theory of everything?" by Michio Kaku. Among those contributing shorter commentaries are mathematicians Marcus du Sautoy, Timothy Gowers, and Benoit Mandelbrot. The other section, "Journey Through Time", presents an overview of the past 50 years of science through a selection of New Scientist articles from this period. Judging from this collection of articles, one might conclude that nothing much happened in mathematics during those decades: There are articles on computing, theoretical physics, space exploration, genetics, chemistry, neuroscience, and nuclear power, plus several on aviationbut none exclusively on a mathematical topic.
 Allyn Jackson
"Dashing Rogues," by Sid Perkins. Science News, 18 November 2006, pages 328329.
"Lottery Strategy Pays Off," by Aisha Labi. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 November 2006, page A6.
"This Academic Life," by Robin Wilson. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 17 November 2006, page A12.
"Peloisi shakes capital ... Political Greenhorn: McNerney arrives in D.C. to take Pombo's seat, learn ropes," by Rachel Gordon. San Francisco Chronicle, 14 November2006.
Voters in California's 11^{th} Congressional district elected Jerry McNerney, a Ph.D. mathematician and windenergy expert, to Congress. He won the spot held by a seventerm incumbent. McNerney tells the reporter that he hopes to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee "to put his professional background to good use," and he would also like to be on the agriculture and transportation committees. The "McNerney for Congress" website posts information about Mcnerney's background, including that he attended the University of New Mexico, where he studied engineering and mathematics, earning a Ph.D. in 1981. He was a contractor to Sandia National Laboratories, where he worked on national security programs. In 1985, he took a senior engineering position with US Windpower and in 1994 began working as an energy consultant for utility companies. McNerney will be the only mathematician in Congress. Samuel M. Rankin III, director of the AMS's Washington D.C. office, is quoted as saying: "Obviously we're very excited." 
"Eine flächefür den Poeten (A surface for the poet)". Scienzz web site,6 November 2006.

This article reports on the awarding of prizes by the Deutsche Mathematiker Vereinigung (DMV,German Mathematical Society). The renowned German literary figure Hans Magnus Enzensberger got a special prize: He had a mathematical surface named after him, the "Enzensberger Stern" (Enzensberger star), and was presented with a glass model of the sixpointed surface. Other prizewinners were George Szpiro, who received the DMV Media Prize, and Ulf von Rauchhaupt, who received the DMV Journalism Prize. 
"When god plays dice," by Dana Mackenzie. New Scientist, 4 November 2006, pages 4649.
"The Gateway Arch is NOT a Parabola." Interview with Keith Devlin on "Weekend Edition." National PublicRadio, 4 November 2006.

Soon after a commentator on National Public Radio (NPR) identified the St. Louis Gateway arch as a parabola the station received "piles of emails" from listeners pointing out the mistake. NPR's "Math Guy" Keith Devlin was invited to explain why the arch is not a parabola but a catenary curve. Devlin starts by saying that even Galileo got the (parabola) shape wrong and that calculus (which had not yet been invented when Galileo was alive) is needed to figure it out. Devlin explains that the Gateway arch is not exactly a mathematical catenary either, because of its construction. Listen to the segment.  Annette Emerson

"Ballot Roulette: Computer Scientists and Mathematicians Look For BetterWays to Vote," by Peter Weiss. Science News Online, 4 November 2006.
This time next year, a mathematician may have helped make sure your vote was counted accurately. The votecounting scandals of the 2000 election reinvigorated the search for reliable, secure ways to tally ballots. Mathematicians and computer scientists have been working to diagnose vulnerabilities in electronic voting systems and design new voting methods using cryptography. This article provides a look at the present and future of voting systems in America, including recent research by Princeton University computer security experts on ways to load and replicate votechanging viruses on electronic machines and ideas for ballots with encrypted portions voters can keep as receipts. Author Peter Weiss sets up the votecounting challenge with a basic description of problems since 2000, questions about the current systems, and alternatives being developed today.
 Lisa DeKeukelaere
"Beautiful Models": Review of Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring theEquations of Life, by Martin Nowak. Reviewed by Sean Nee. Nature, 2 November 2006.
The book flows quickly and casually through advanced mathematical concepts, and its author, Martin Nowak, is a successful young Harvard professor. The reviewer did not expect to like the book but was interested and amused by Nowak's research in and explanations of evolutionary dynamicsthe mathematical approach to biological phenomena like the human body's response to the AIDS virus. Portions of the book were both funny and exciting, and Nee recommends it to anyone interested in theoretical biology, though some topics and wording seemed geared toward a mathematically knowledgeable audience.
 Lisa DeKeukelaere
"Coole Mathematiker (Cool Mathematicians)": Review of Bourbaki, ASecret Society of Mathematicians, by Maurice Mashaal. Reviewed by George Szpiro. Neue ZürcherZeitung, 1 November 2006.
Nicolas Bourbaki was the pseudonym used by a group of mostly French mathematicians who starting in the 1930s wrote mathematics books that had a significant influence on the field. Szpiro writes that the book is written in an entertainingly and refreshingly readable style and contains not just historical but mathematical details.
 Allyn Jackson
"Fuzzy Math," by Alex Stone. Discover, November 2006, page 18.
Math Digest Archives 
2016 
2015 
2014 
2013 
2012 
2011 
2010 
2009 
2008 
2007 
2006 
2005 
2004 
2003 
2002 
2001 
2000 
1999 
1998 
1997  1996  1995 Click here for a list of links to web pages of publications covered in the Digest. 