Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Les mathematiques, discipline malheureusement negligee" ("Mathematics, a sadly neglected discipline"). Le Monde, 8 October 2001.

Although there is a romantic legend that Alfred Nobel nixed math from the Nobel Prizes because his wife left him for the great mathematician Gosta Magnus Mittag-Leffler, the truth is more mundane. In fact Nobel's work as an inventor and industrialist led him to think mainly of concrete techniques when creating his prizes, and thus to neglect theoretical enterprises such as math. But all is not lost for the mathematician seeking glory: there remain the Fields medal, the Crafoord prize, and the Clay Mathematics Institute's seven US$1 million problems. The newest prize on the block is the Abel prize, to be awarded for the first time in 2002, the 200th anniversary of Niels Henrik Abel's birth.

--- Rafe Jones