Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"A scientist to count on": Review of The Hilbert Challenge: A Perspective onTwentieth-Century Mathematics, by Jeremy J. Gray. Reviewed by W. TimothyGowers. Nature, 5 April 2001.

Gowers praises Gray's account of how Hilbert's problems have had such aprofound effect 100 years after Hilbert presented them in his famous lecture.Gray attributes the continued influence at the start of the 21st century toseveral factors: Hilbert's problems were extraordinarily well-chosen; theproblems spanned many areas of mathematics; the concept of presenting the worldwith these carefully selected and unsolved problems was brilliant; and theproblems have both intrinsic interest and philosophical, "metamathematical"themes. The reviewer highly recommends the book.

--- Annette Emerson

American Mathematical Society