Blog on Math Blogs

Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Amber Alert Saves Girl," by Lee Cowan. CBS Evening News, 8 May 2003.

This story is about how arithmetic, coupled with a nationwide alert, helped find a missing girl. The story began, "For anyone who thought solving those mathematical story problems in elementary school was unnecessary, meet Sergeant Randy Richey." Richey, a member of the Utah Highway Patrol, had heard an alert that a girl in Minnesota was missing and that her suspected abductor was from Utah. The trooper, in Provo, reasoned that they might be heading there and picked a road that he thought the suspect might use. Then Richey calculated how much time it would take to get the 1350 miles from outside Minneapolis to Provo. When he looked up from his calculations, which indicated that the pair should be arriving very soon, there was the van the suspect was driving. The suspect was arrested and the girl returned home. Cowan concluded the story with, "A happy ending born out of lessons learned in elementary school: good communication, good timing, and of course, good old arithmetic."

--- Mike Breen