Math in the Media

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Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Forever and Ever," by John Allen Paulos., 7 March 2004.

In this month's "Who's Counting" column, Paulos explores the interplay betweenmathematics and literature: "Increasingly, fiction seems to come with amathematical flavor, mathematical exposition with a narrative verve." Heillustrates the phenomenon in brief analyses of David Foster Wallace's bookEverything and More: A Compact History of Infinity and John Barrow'splay (performed to date only in Europe) Infinities, and applauds suchattempts to bridge the the cultures of mathematics and literature. Paulos(recently given the 2003 AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science andTechnology) concludes that "mathematical exposition is too important to be leftonly to mathematicians, and the wide variety of literary forms available shouldnot be off-limits to mathematicians and physicists."

--- Annette Emerson