The Best Writing on Mathematics 2017
Edited by Mircea Pitici
This annual anthology brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world. Featuring promising new voices alongside some of the foremost names in the field, The Best Writing on Mathematics 2017 makes available to a wide audience many articles not easily found anywhere else—and you don’t need to be a mathematician to enjoy them. These writings offer surprising insights into the nature, meaning, and practice of mathematics today. They delve into the history, philosophy, teaching, and everyday occurrences of math, and take readers behind the scenes of today’s hottest mathematical debates.
Here Evelyn Lamb describes the excitement of searching for incomprehensibly large prime numbers, Jeremy Gray speculates about who would have won math’s highest prize—the Fields Medal—in the nineteenth century, and Philip Davis looks at mathematical results and artifacts from a business and marketing viewpoint. In other essays, Noson Yanofsky explores the inherent limits of knowledge in mathematical thinking, Jo Boaler and Lang Chen reveal why finger-counting enhances children’s receptivity to mathematical ideas, and Carlo Séquin and Raymond Shiau attempt to discover how the Renaissance painter Fra Luca Pacioli managed to convincingly depict his famous rhombicuboctahedron, a twenty-six-sided Archimedean solid. And there’s much, much more.
In addition to presenting the year’s most memorable writings on mathematics, this must-have anthology includes a bibliography of other notable writings and an introduction by the editor, Mircea Pitici. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in where math has taken us—and where it is headed.
First published in 2017.Mircea Pitici teaches advanced calculus at Syracuse University. He holds a PhD in mathematics education from Cornell University and is working on a master's degree in library and information science at Syracuse's iSchool. He has edited The Best Writing on Mathematics since 2010.