Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Goedel and the Limits of Logic," by John W. Dawson, Jr. ScientificAmerican, June 1999, pages 68-73.

This fascinating article describes the life and work of Kurt Goedel, one ofthe century's most important mathematicians. Goedel showed that themathematical methods that had been used since the time of Euclid to solvemathematical problems were inadequate to solve all problems that could beposed. "His discovery undercut the foundations on which mathematics had beenbuilt up to the 20th century, stimulated thinkers to seek alternatives, andgenerated a lively philosophical debate about the nature of truth," Dawsonwrites. The article deftly interweaves biographical details with a highlyreadable account of Goedel's deepest mathematical work.

--- Allyn Jackson