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Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"The Search for Rigor": Review of Mechanizing Proof: Computing, Risk, andTrust, by Donald Mackenzie MIT press, 2001). Reviewed by Brian Hayes. American Scientist,July-August 2002.

Mackenzie's Mechanizing Proof explores the concept of proof asunderstood in both mathematics and computer science. Hayes explains that"MacKenzie's story has two mirror-image aspects. On the one hand, computers canhelp construct proofs in mathematics; on the other, proof techniques borrowedfrom mathematics might help in constructing correct computer programs." Hayespraises Mackenzie---a sociologist---for his descriptions of the mathematicaland computer science issues, for the literature he used and interviewsconducted for source material, and for his writing style.

--- Annette Emerson