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Mathematical Digest


Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Drama in Numbers," by Ivars Peterson. Science News, 21 & 28 December 2002, pages 392-393.

In this issue's cover story, Peterson discusses three plays which involve mathematics: Proof by David Auburn, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, and Fermat's Last Tango by Joshua Rosenblum and Joanne Sidney Lessner. Peterson writes that "These three plays depict the pursuit of mathematics as painful joy - an intense endeavor that can unveil an alluring beauty in ideal objects or bare mathematical symbols." Several mathematicians are quoted in the article including two, Jean E. Taylor and Robert L. Devaney, who helped Auburn and Stoppard, respectively, with some of the mathematics in their plays. Devaney has a website illustrating the chaos and fractals in Arcadia.

--- Mike Breen

American Mathematical Society