This 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 2011 *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 Ian Hacking discusses the salient features that distinguish mathematics from other disciplines of the mind; Doris Schattschneider identifies some of the mathematical inspirations of M. C. Escher's art; Jordan Ellenberg describes compressed sensing, a mathematical field that is reshaping the way people use large sets of data; Erica Klarreich reports on the use of algorithms in the job market for doctors; and much, much more.

In addition to presenting the year's most memorable writings on mathematics, this must-have anthology includes a foreword by esteemed physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in where math has taken us--and where it is headed.

of cubes ever sharing a common configuration). Or to put it another way: if a computer were capable of determining the fewest number of moves required to solve the cube for 1,000 different starting positions each second, it would take more than a billion years of computing time to get through every configuration. Determining God’s number by independently improving the upper and lower bounds was a quest that lasted for three decades—but it has finally come to an end. In July 2010 the upper and

which the Network Challenge was solved provides a quantitative measure for the effectiveness of emerging new forms of social media in mobilizing teams to solve an important problem.” The DARPA Network Challenge shows that, in certain situations, scientific networking can be extraordinarily effective, but there is a fundamental difference between the DARPA Network Challenge and massive mathematical collaboration.The difference is the difference between stupidity and creativity. The participants in

his mentors and advisers back in Lund had been the Hungarian Jew Marcel Riesz.) Anyway, the other famous Europeans at Stanford were Stefan Bergman from Poland, George Polya and Gabor Szego from Hungary, Charles Loewner from Czechoslovakia, and Hans Samelson from Germany. There was also Menahem Max Schiffer from Israel and Sam Karlin in statistics. All brilliant; all Jews. Well, why not? It has been said, more than once, that by driving the Jewish mathematicians and physicists from Europe to

Pythagorean Theorem by Robert and Ellen Kaplan, Galileo by J. L. Heilbron, Defending Hypatia by Robert Goulding, Voltaire’s Riddle by Andrew Simoson, The Scientific Legacy of Poincare edited by Éric Charpentier, Étienne Ghys, and Annick Lesne, Emmy Noether’sWonderful Theorem by Dwight Neuenschwander, and Studies in the History of Indian Mathematics edited by C. S. Seshadri.Thematically more encompassing are Mathematics and Its History by John Stillwell, An Episodic History of Mathematics by

in which three mutually perpendicular bars appear to join to form a triangle (Figure 5). Following that, his father devised an “endless staircase”, another object that can be drawn on paper but is impossible to construct as it appears [41, pp. 149–50]. Penrose then closed the loop of discovery by sending the sketches of these impossible objects to Escher, who in turn used them in crafting the perpetual motion in his print Waterfall and the never-ending march of the monks in Ascending and