Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Navigating your mind." The Economist, 25 January 2001.

To identify what region of the brain does what, neurologists can hook up a patient to a scanner, set the patient a task, and see which bits of the cortex light up with activity. However, areas that look adjacent to each other in an image may actually be a long way apart if they have a deep fold in between.

That is why Monica Hurdal of Florida State University is creating a two-dimensional map of the brain. The difficult part is in projecting the brain's shape to two dimensions, but Hurdal has overcome it with help from the Riemann Mapping Theorem and other geometrical techniques.

--- Benjamin Stein