Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"The Shaping of Oboe Reeds: Maybe it is Rocket Science," by Malcolm W. Browne.New York Times, 31 October 1997, page C4.

Despite the many affinities between mathematics and music, it comes as asurprise that mathematics may help musicians tell good oboe reeds from badones. James Spall, a statistical analyst, often watched his wife, oboistKatherine Ceasar-Spall, as she went through the process of cutting, scoring,and filing the temperamental reeds. James Spall has developed a mathematicalmodel designed to predict when a reed will go bad before the most laboriouspart of the refining process is done.

--- Allyn Jackson