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**Welcome!**

These web essays are designed for those who have already discovered the joys of mathematics as well as for those who may be uncomfortable with mathematics. Mathematics is a fast growing and evolving subject. The domain of ways that mathematics is being applied is growing by leaps and bounds. Examples include CT scans, DVDs, face recognition systems, and cell phone technology. Our goal is to share our excitement about these developments with you.

Although historically much of mathematics had hidden its charms from some potential admirers, sometimes because of its extensive use of strange symbolic notations, we believe more mathematics can be explained to interested non-mathematicians than is commonly believed. We have tried to make the columns as self-contained as possible and we apologize if we explain some things that readers may already be familiar with. We hope these columns will be read by teachers, students, and the general public, as well as by mathematicians. Thus, we have tried to write in a way that will make it possible for people at many different levels to get something out of what is here. This does not mean that everything in each column will interest you or that you will be able to understand everything. Also, we hope that even if you bog down somewhere in what we write, you should glance at what comes later, since more often than is true for some treatments of mathematics, what comes later may still have interest for you.

Mathematicians are trained to look at ideas in special ways that often differ from those of other intellectually curious people. We hope that our calling these approaches to your attention helps you understand what is special about mathematics. We welcome feedback on these columns, though we can not promise to respond in all cases. We can be contacted via email as indicated below. Thanks in advance.

We hope you will enjoy reading these columns. We know we will enjoy preparing them for you.