Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Paradoxes in Paradise": Review of The Search for Certainty: A PhilosophicalAccount of Foundations of Mathematics, by Marcus Giaquinto. Reviewed byMartin Davis. AmericanScientist, May-June 2003, pages 268-269.

This book gives a history of the efforts around 1900 to put mathematics ona solid logical foundation. In the review, Davis gives some historicalbackground of some of the controversies involved, especially those involvingHilbert. The positive review ends with, "Giaquinto has provided a careful andjudicious discussion ..., supplying needed technical background for readers whoare not mathematicians. Although foundational questions have ceased to be ofmuch importance to most mathematicians, controversies among specialistscontinue. Readers of this book will be well prepared to follow the currentliterature on foundations of mathematics."

--- Mike Breen