#### Important information regarding the recent AMS power outage.

The transformer that provides electricity to the AMS building in Providence went down on Sunday, April 22. The restoration of our email, website, AMS Bookstore and other systems is almost complete. We are currently running on a generator but overnight a new transformer should be hooked up and (fingers crossed) we should be fine by 8:00 (EDT) Wednesday morning. This issue has affected selected phones, which should be repaired by the end of today. No email was lost, although the accumulated messages are only just now being delivered so you should expect some delay.

Thanks for your patience.

# Mathematical Digest

### Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics

in the Popular Press

"How Not to Solve It": Review of *The Random Walks of George Polya,* byGerald Alexanderson, and *Mathematical Fallacies, Flaws, and Flimflam,* byEdward J. Barbeau. Reviewed by William J. Thompson. *AmericanScientist,* September-October 2000, pages 465-466.

The first of the two books under review is a "carefully researched hagiography"of the mathematician George Polya, who is perhaps most famous for his book*How To Solve It.* "Polya emphasized clear understanding and presentationof mathematical proofs," the reviewer writes, so it is appropriate to reviewthe book about him together with a book that discusses erroneous mathematicalresults. Although the reviewer wishes the biography had more analysis ofPolya's methods and less emphasis on chronology and personal details, he writesthat "this is a good book, well worth the price and the time needed to readit." The reviewer also likes the other book and suggests that reading ittogether with Polya's *How to Solve It* would help one to "understand thepower and pitfalls of Polya's methods."

*--- Allyn Jackson*