Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Gates Gives $200 Million for Research," by Lawrence K. Altman. New York Times, 27 January2003, page A14.

In January 2003, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gatesannounced that his charitable foundation would give US$200 million to indentifycrucial questions about health problems in poor countries. "In creating thegrant, Mr. Gates said he had been inspired by the succeess of a German, DavidHilbert, who challenged his fellow mathematicians in 1900 to solve 23 problemsover the next century," the article states. "Dr. Hilbert's challenge led tomathematical breakthroughs, opened up fields of study and contributed to thedevelopment of computers." The so-called "Hilbert Problems" had a considerableinfluence in mathematics and also inspired the Clay Mathematics Institute to set upmillion-dollar prizes for the solution of seven mathematics problems, two ofwhich was on Hilbert's original list of 23 problems.

--- Allyn Jackson