Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" by Ian Stewart. New Scientist, 1 June 2002, pages 27-31.

This article discusses several high profile prizes that have been established recently for mathematical achievements. The best known of these are the seven Millennium Mathematics Problems, for which the Clay Mathematics Institute has offered prizes of US$1 million apiece. Stewart explains each of the Millennium Prize Problems in turn, describing in some detail the more accessible ones and giving just a flavor of the more technical ones. He also discusses Norway's Abel Prize, the prize offered by a publisher for the solution of Goldbach's Conjecture, and the 2 million pound prize for the solution of the Eternity Puzzle, cracked by two mathematicians who spent six months working on it. For all the hoopla over these prizes, mathematicians are not motivated by money but rather by curiosity. "Maths and mammon seldom mix," he concludes.

--- Allyn Jackson