July 2006"The Topology and Combinatorics of Soccer Balls," American Scientist, JulyAugust 2006Obituaries for Irving Kaplansky, July and August 2006 "Benjamin Franklin hat's erfunden (Benjamin Franklin's got it)," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 30 July 2006 Obituaries for Frederick Mosteller, July 2006 "The Joy of Symmetry": Review of The Equation that Couldn't Be Solved, by Mario Livio, and Fearless Symmetry, by Avner Ash and Robert Gross, New Scientist, 29 July 2006, page 48. "Dear Mom and Dad: Please Send Cookies And a New Calculator: Math Camps Spread for Kids Who Can't Get Enough," Wall Street Journal, 28 July 2006 "New Life for Neural Networks," Science, 28 July 2006 "All aboard, with a little help from Einstein," The Guardian (UK), 27 July 2006; "Getting passengers in their seats is as easy as E=mc^{2}," The Scotsman, 27 July 2006 "Celebrating Puzzles, in 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 Moves (or So)," The New York Times, 25 July 2006 "Genialer Einsiedler (Brilliant hermit)," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 23 July 2006 "Grim Statistics," Science, 21 July 2006 "Major Math Problem Is Believed Solved By Reclusive Russian," The Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2006 "Revisiting the Relevance of the Queen of the Sciences," Greater Kashmir (Srinagar, Inda), 18 July 2006 "Integrating Mathematics." Science, 14 July 2006 "Small Movements: New Devices Help the Paralyzed," National Public Radio, 14 July 2006 "AI research dealing with complicated matter," The Telegraph (Nashua, NH), 12 July 2006 "Narratively Imaginative," Shanghai Daily, 12 July 2006 "Geometric maps reveal hidden beauty of music," New Scientist, 7 July 2006; "Exploring Musical Space," Science, 7 July 2006; "Calculated tones," Nature, 13 July 2006; "Music's inner map revealed, with some help from geometry," The Boston Globe, 31 July 2006 "Van Gogh painted perfect turbulence," news@nature.com, 7 July 2006 "'No Child' Law Leads States to Weaken Student Tests, Study Says," Bloomberg.com, 5 July 2006 "The Math Behind Pellicano's Code": Interview with Keith Devlin, National Public Radio, 1 July 2006 "The net reloaded", New Scientist, 1 July 2006 "The Extreme Sport of Origami," Discover, July 2006 "The Topology and Combinatorics of Soccer Balls," by Dieter Kotschick. American Scientist, JulyAugust 2006, pages 350357. http://www.mathematicaguidebooks.org. Other articles on mathematics and soccer balls:  Allyn Jackson
"Irving Kaplansky, Scholar: 19172006," by F. F. Langan. The Globe and Mail, 3 August 2006.
"Benjamin Franklin hat's erfunden (Benjamin Franklin's got it)," by George Szpiro. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 30 July 2006. This article discusses Benjamin Franklin's version of Sudoku. Apparently the founding father whiled away his time at the Pennsylvania Assembly filling in 8x8 squares with numbers. A recent article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society analyzes Franklin's squares.  Allyn Jackson
"Mathematical Theorist Frederick Mosteller," by Adam Bernstein. The Washington Post, 25 July 2006, page B6. Frederick Mosteller, a premier statistician and founder of Harvard University's statistics department, died on July 23, 2006, in Falls Church, VA at the age of 89. He wrote hundreds of papers and books, was president of several professional associations, served on scientific research boards, and was active in research until 2004. Mosteller received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton in 1946. He began as a faculty member at Harvard in the social relations department, was chair of the statistics department from 1957 to 1971 and retired as chair of the department of health policy and management in 1987. One of his earliest papers was the first known academic analysis of baseball, which he wrote in 1946 after his favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1961 Mosteller taught probability and statistics in Continental Classroom on NBC. In Inference and Disputed Authorship (1962), he and David Wallace applied Bayes' Theorem to identify James Madison as the author of some disupted Federalist Papers. He said that he first became interested in mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University when a professor showed him some sophisticated mathematical techniques. The Washington Post article quotes him as saying: "It was the most marvelous thing I had ever seen in mathematics.... It used mathematics that, up to that time, in my heart of hearts, I had thought was something that mathematicians just did to create homework problems for innocent students in high school and college."  Mike Breen
"The Joy of Symmetry": Review of The Equation that Couldn't Be Solved, by Mario Livio, and Fearless Symmetry, by Avner Ash and Robert Gross. Reviewed by Justin Mullins. New Scientist, 29 July 2006, page 48. These two books provide "a tour of the beautiful but mysterious world of symmetry", the reviewer writes. He finds that "Livio is a knowledgeable guide who reveals a part of the mathematical world of symmetry that most people would be unlikely to find on their own." The book by Ash and Gross is more challenging. The two authors "make one of the bravest attempts yet to guide the mathematical novitiate up the highest mountains in the world of symmetry."  Allyn Jackson
"Dear Mom and Dad: Please Send Cookies And a New Calculator: Math Camps Spread for Kids Who Can't Get Enough," by John Hechinger. Wall Street Journal, 28 July 2006, page A1. In this article, John Hechinger writes about the experiences of a few of the blossoming mathematicians at MathPath, a 4week summer program in Santa Cruz, California where highly gifted 10–14 year olds work with renowned mathematicians. MathPath is unusual for the age of its campers: Most summer math programs are geared toward highschoolage students. It is also a highly selective program: some 71 out of 400 students who took the 8question qualifying quiz were chosen for this July’s program. Hechinger interviews both campers and their parents. Parents speak of their reasons for sending their children, including their own summer academic experiences as well as a desire to help their children "shine" doing something they enjoy. Many of these parents, Hechinger notes, are "highlyeducated immigrants from China, South Korea, and other countries who don’t share native U.S. notions of carefree summer days." The campers speak of their love of mathematics and feeling like they "belong" at MathPath. While they have the opportunities to play sports and participate in other activities, the students Hechinger interviewed were quite serious about studying mathematics. Referring to an opportunity to "goof off" with other kids who had finished their homework one evening, 14yearold Alice Xie states, "I could go outside and play soccer instead of finishing my homework, but I'd be wasting my time. I came here to do math." If you want to try it, a printable copy of the quiz taken by this summers’ applicants is available on the MathPath website.  Claudia Clark
"New Life for Neural Networks," by Garrison W. Cottrell. Science, 28 July 2006, pages 454455. Cottrell summarizes research by G.E. Hinton and R.R. Salakhutdinov ("Reducing the Dimensionality of Data with Neural Networks," pages 504507 of the same issue) that uses neural networks to convert data in a high number of dimensions to a more compact description. He gives the example of a helix whose onedimensionality is hard to see simply by looking at its points' coordinates. Hinton and Salakhutdinov's method "learns" to encode data and to decode it. Their mapping is invertible, so that new data can be mapped into the lowdimensional space.  Mike Breen
"All aboard, with a little help from Einstein," by James Randerson. The Guardian (UK), 27 July 2006;
"Celebrating Puzzles, in 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 Moves (or So)," by Margaret Wertheim. The New York Times, 25 July 2006.
"Genialer Einsiedler (Brilliant hermit)," by George Szpiro. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 23 July 2006. This article presents a profile of the enigmatic Grigory Perelman, whose breakthrough work on the Ricci flow seems to have provided a way to prove two important questions in mathematics, the Poincaré Conjecture and Geometrization Conjecture.  Allyn Jackson
"Grim Statistics," by Robin Mejia. Science, 21 July 2006, pages 288290. "In a soontobereleased statistical analysis funded by the U.S. State Department, scientists have put together the most credible figures yet on the tragedies that unfolded [during the 19912000 civil war in Sierra Leone]," writes Robin Mejia for this issue of Science. The statistics are indeed grim: More than 25% of the country's 5 million people were forcibly displaced, about onequarter million had property destroyed, and approximately 140,000 citizens were assaulted or beaten. The project was a joint effort of Benetech, a California company that "produces technology for social good," and the American Bar Association (ABA). Statistician Jana Asher, at the time a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, was hired to lead the survey teams. All in all, the teams conducted "facetoface interviews with 3633 randomly selected households from across all of Sierra Leone's 150 chiefdoms," Mejia writes. The obstacles were manifold. For one, the country, although not quite as large as South Carolina, contains many impassable regions: Mejia reports that "one survey team hiked for 16 kilometers to get to a siteafter a 16hour boat ride." In order to persuade individuals to respond, local staff suggested initial meetings with Sierra Leone chiefs prior to interviews with individuals living within their territories. These staff also suggested ways to deal with difficult subjects, including rape, and worked with Asher to find a way to determine the dates when crimes occurred to within a year. Mejia notes that, while the confidence intervals are goodsized, "the numbers are more precise than what is normally available after a decade of civil fighting in a developing country." Raul Suarez de Miguel, who works with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, describes the result as "the difference between having an idea that something occurred and having data structured" so that it can be used to identify the magnitude and location of abuses, as well as whether conditions are getting better or worse. The survey results are available for the Special Court for Sierra Leone to use in legal proceedings against the persons indicted for war crimes. But some defendants might benefit from survey results, which apportioned responsibility for the crimes to various groups. Benetech Human Rights Program director Patrick Ball, who is also working on the project, is concerned that the numbers of defendants representing various factions do not match the percentages found by the survey. For example, the survey found that the Civil Defense Force (CDF) perpetrated 4% of the crimes, but 3 out of 13 defendants are CDF leaders. "Even the most casual observer of the statistics can see that the CDF is not responsible for the majority of crimes... That's false moral equivalence," Ball maintains. Surveys of this type might be used to help future humanrights tribunals determine how to allocate resources by determining "proportional responsibility." Meanwhile Asher is working with the Science and Human Rights Program at AAAS where she is "reanalyzing data she gathered to document humanitarian needs." And she and the ABA will make a "needs map" for Sierra Leone available to nongovernmental organizations.  Claudia Clark
"Major Math Problem Is Believed Solved By Reclusive Russian," by Sharon Begley. The Wall Street Journal, 21 July 2006, page A9. Begley writes about the Poincaré Conjecture and Grigori Perelman's purported proof. A proof of the conjecture in a refereed journal earns the solver US$1,000,000 from the Clay Mathematics Institute. Perelman posted his proof in two papers on the nonrefereed mathematics preprint server called the arXiv. The papers have not appeared in any journal and may never appear in a journal. Bruce Kleiner (Yale University) and John Lott (University of Michigan) have been studying Perelman's papers and their "Notes on Perelman's Papers" like the papers, also on the arXiv explains the proof in detail. Also a "complete proof" of the conjecture, based on Perelman's work, by HuaiDong Cao and XiPing Zhu was published in June 2006 in the Asian Journal of Mathematics. On July 25, 2006, John Morgan (Columbia University) and Gang Tian (Princeton University) posted on the arXiv their book manuscript that they say contains a complete proof of the Poincaré conjecture, based on Perelman's ideas. A radio program on the same subject: "Mathematician May Have Solved 100YearOld Problem," an interview with Keith Devlin, ran on NPR's Weekend Edition. National Public Radio, 29 July 2006.  Mike Breen
"Revisiting the Relevance of the Queen of the Sciences," by M. A. Sofi. Greater Kashmir (Srinagar, Inda), 18 July 2006. Sofi, a professor of mathematics and dean of academics at Kashmir University, starts off with a quote about mathematics by Bertrand Russell on the beauty of mathematics, and proceeds to dispel some myths about the subject. He notes that the definition of doing mathematics as "working with numbers" has been out of date for nearly 2500 years. He offers that mathematics is "an important human endeavor, essentially a science of patternsreal or imaginedvisual or mental, arising from the natural world or from within the human mind. Far from being too abstract to matter and besides being a uniquely human endeavor, mathematics helps us understand the universe and ourselves." Beyond that, Sofi suggests that "mathematics surpasses every other human endeavor in terms of the value it has brought to human life through science and technology, where the role of mathematics has been immense." He concludes by sayng that one must do mathematics to truly appreciate its fun, value, and beauty.  Annette Emerson
"Integrating Mathematics." NetWatch, Science, 14 July 2006, page 151. Larry Riddle of Agnes Scott College maintains a site with biographies of approximately 200 women mathematicians. One woman mentioned in this short article is Christine LaddFranklin who in 1876 applied for a mathematics fellowship at Johns Hopkins University under the name of C. Ladd. She received the fellowship even though the school was closed to women at the time.  Mike Breen
"Small Movements: New Devices Help the Paralyzed," with guests John Donoghue and Krishna Shenoy. Talk of the Nation, on National Public Radio, 14 July 2006. New research involves planting electrodes in monkey brains to record impulses of neurons. One paralyzed man with a similar tiny sensor implanted in his brain was able to move a robotic hand just by thinking about doing it (the brain signals drive decoding computer programs), and reportedly said that it only took a few days to learn how to control the devices using the sensor. The researchers said it is striking "how well the mathematical algorithms and lessons learned in the intact monkeys translate to paralyzed humans."  Annette Emerson
"AI research dealing with complicated matter," by Dave Brooks. The Telegraph (Nashua, NH), 12 July 2006. The article covers a conference at Dartmouth College celebrating the 50th anniversary of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 1956 Dartmouth hosted the first Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, raising the hopes of computer scientists and the general pubilc that one day computers and robots would be able to mimic human thought processes. While the discipline has contributed to the creation of robotic vacuum cleaners, the Big Blue chess champ, and the DARPA Grand Challenge selfdriving car, the field hasn't really shed any light on "how people think, or what intelligence is." Mathematician Dan Rockmore notes that perhaps that is something to celebrate, knowing that "we're much harder to duplicate then we thought." Rockmore is currently working on a documentary about the 1956 conference.  Annette Emerson
"Narratively Imaginative," by Xu Wei. Shanghai Daily, 12 July 2006. Batman drives his Batmobile; Superman flies with the help of his superpowers, but Jac Weir, the hero in an abouttobereleased science fiction film, travels through space—and time—by way of a Möbius strip. The film, aptly titled Through the Möbius Strip, marks the first fulllength 3D animated film to be made in China, reports Xu Wei, writer for the Shanghai Daily. The film, "based on a concept by Jean Giraud, a noted French comic artist, looks set to not only reap big profits at the box office," Wei writes, "but also ring a clarion call for the renaissance of [the] Chinese animation industry." Through the Möbius Strip was over five years in the making and had a budget of around US$18.8 million. Over 400 domestic and international cartoon professionals worked on the 3D CGI (computergenerated imagery). Some notable Hollywood professionals, including Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, took part in the production. Currently, the producers are searching for distributors to organize the film’s international release.  Claudia Clark
"Geometric maps reveal hidden beauty of music," by Roxanne Khamsi. New Scientist, 7 July 2006;
"Van Gogh painted perfect turbulence," by Philip Ball. news@nature.com, 7 July 2006. Physicist Jose Luis Aragon has found that many of Vincent van Gogh's paintings have a pattern of brightness that closely resembles turbulence. Aragon and coworkers took digital images of some of van Gogh's paintings and determined the probability that "two pixels a certain distance apart would have the same brightness, or luminance." The team found that several of the paintings, for example The Starry Night, showed Kolmogorov scaling in their luminance probability distributions. (Kolmogorov did foundational work in turbulence; the scaling that bears his name refers to the probabilities of certain velocity differences between points in a fluid.) Aragon's team did not find turbulence in some of van Gogh's other, calmer, works, or in other artists' works.  Mike Breen
"'No Child' Law Leads States to Weaken Student Tests, Study Says," by Paul Basken. Bloomberg.com, 5 July 2006. Policy Analysis for California Education studied schools in 12 states, chosen for geographical and educational diversity, and found that fourth graders' math and reading proficiency rates were reported to be about twice as high as they actually were. In math, 65 per cent of fourth grade students were reported to be proficient whereas the National Assessment of Educational Progress test put the proficiency rate at 30 per cent. The study, which looked at data from 1992 to 2005, claims that states are "dumbing down" their tests to avoid high failure rates, which trigger penalties under the No Child Left Behind law.  Mike Breen
"The Math Behind Pellicano's Code": Interview with Keith Devlin. Weekend Edition, National Public Radio, 1 July 2006.
"The net reloaded", by Kim Krieger. New Scientist, 1 July 2006, pages 4043. This article discusses a rethinking of the mathematical models used to study and understand networks, in particular the Internet. Powerlaw models, widely used to describe the Internet, made news some years back through the startling prediction that the Internet could be crippled if hackers took down just a few key hubs. Powerlaw models spawned "scalefree" network theory, which became a fashionable area of study. "Now a growing number of biologists, mathematicians and computer scientists are complaining that the idea has been overhyped, and that the powerlaw pattern does not reveal anything fundamental about what makes networks tick," the article says. New models, such as "highly optimized tolerance", or HOT, have now been proposed for modeling networks like the Internet.  Allyn Jackson
"The Extreme Sport of Origami," by Jennifer Kahn. Discover, July 2006, pages 6063. Since quitting his job as a laser physicist in 2002, Robert Lang now gets paid to simulate the folds of a car airbag and design medical implants; his triumphs include a sixlegged fivehorned beetle, a fullscale human being, and a Maine lobstereach crafted from a single, uncut sheet of paper. He is a professional origami folder, and the key to his success is a selfwritten computer program that translates a shape into a series of fold lines which, when executed on a sheet of paper in the correct order, will result in the desired form. For Lang, the tricky part lies in the years of trialanderror that can be needed to determine the correct folding sequence. While other folders appreciate the abilities of his program, his most formidable competitor prefers human ingenuity to computergenerated solutions: Satoshi Kamiya, a 23yearold Japanese folding genius, produces complex creations by visualizing an object and "unfolding it in his mind," a process that can require over 200 steps.  Lisa DeKeukelaere

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