Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Bernoulli Was Ahead of Modern Epidemiology," Letter to the Editor from KlausDietz and J.A.P. Heesterbeek. Nature, 30 November 2000.

The writers of this letter commemorate the 300th anniversary of Swissmathematician Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782). They point out that in 1766Bernoulli was "the first to express the proportion of susceptible individualsof an endemic infection in terms of the force of the infection and lifeexpectancy." The letter concludes with the authors quoting a wish fromBernoulli that " decision shall be made without all the knowledge which alittle analysis and calculation can provide"---a wish that is still relevanttoday.

--- Michael Breen