Mathematical Digest
Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics in the Popular Press"Impossibilities: Review of Abel's Proof: An Essay on the Sources andMeaning of Mathematical Unsolvability, by Peter Pesic. Reviewed by FernandoGouvêa. AmericanScientist, SeptemberOctober 2003, pages 469470. Pesic gives an account of Abel's proof of the unsolvability of the quinticequation as well as the history of algebraic equations and attempts to solvethem. Gouvêa feels that Pesic does a good job of introducing readers toan area of mathematics that they are probably unfamilar with, and writes that,"He is quite successful in achieving his first goal [presenting the history ofthe problem], partly successful in giving us access to Abel's proof and mostlyunsuccessful in shedding light on 'the sources of mathematical unsolvability'."  Mike Breen
