Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Millennium Legacies" by Henry Petroski. American Scientist,September-October, 2001. pp. 396-400.

Petroski describes some of London's projects related to the Millennium. Readersmight find the Millennium Dome or giant Ferris wheel interesting, but ofspecial interest to mathematicians is the part of the article that deals withthe Millennium Bridge. When pedestrians were first allowed to walk across thebridge, it swayed noticeably. The bridge had to be closed while the instabilitywas analyzed and corrected. Although there are no equations presented in thearticle, the description of the problem and its resolution would be a goodexercise in differential equations.

--- Mike Breen