Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"In Mao's China, Politically Correct Math," by Barry Cipra. Science, 28February 1997, pages 1264-1265.

Mathematical historian Joseph Dauben, in doing research for a biography of themathematician Abraham Robinson, came upon an unusual historical twist.Robinson developed the mathematical area called nonstandard analysis, and itwas taken up by Chinese mathematicians during the Cultural Revolution. Whilemany intellectuals were persecuted in this period, some mathematicians wereprotected by studying nonstandard analysis, which was deemed to be in line withthe thinking of Mao and Marx. This article describes Dauben's lecture on thistopic presented at the Joint Mathematics Meetings held in January in San Diego.