Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Math's Wild-And-Crazy Guy," by Peter Carlson. The Washington Post, 6 January 2003.

The newspaper profiles James Yorke, recent winner of the Japan Prize. Yorke, a professor at the University of Maryland, was awarded the Japan Prize for his groundbreaking work in chaos: he shared the US$412,000 prize money with Yale mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot. Yorke introduces the staff writer to how he uses mathematical formulas to map chaos on his office computer, and credits his collaborators---his "world-class chaos team" (so-named by U.S. News & World Report in 1999). "Yorke looks for practical projects, real-world applications for his mathematical theories [e.g. in epidemiology of AIDS, for NASA, the rat genome project]. Now, Yorke and his chaos team are working with the National Weather Service to devise an improved computer model for weather forecasting. The numbers for the model will be figures on temperature, wind speed and air pressure from all over the Earth and many levels of the atmosphere. And the numbers will be updated every 10 minutes. He hopes it will help meteorologists forecast more accurately."

--- Annette Emerson