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Alles Mathematik (Perhaps)

Mathematics teachers often (i.e. always) make the claim that "Mathematics is all around us." But, is this age-old claim true?.

A helpful answer in the affirmative has just been published. Through AMS, respected mathematicians Martin Aigner and Ehrhard Behrends have edited the recent resource text Mathematics Everywhere. Their responses exhibit (and depend on) mathematics as "the art of pure thought and at the same time as a universally applicable science."

Actually, the book is derived from a series of lectures first given to general audiences in Berlin, responding to the authors' observation that public lectures tend to be about everything except mathematics. The current AMS text is a translation from the German text Alles Mathematik (to be read as "All is Mathematics" perhaps!)

As some enticement for you to find and read the book, consider this sample of chapter headings:

  • The Mathematics of the Compact Disc
  • Image Processing and Imaging for Operation Planning in Liver Surgery
  • Romeo and Juliet, Spontaneous Pattern Formation, and Turing's Instability
  • Discrete Tomography: From Battleship to Nanotechnology
  • Reflections on Reflections
  • The Role of Mathematics in Financial Markets
  • Spheres in the Computer--The Kepler Conjecture
  • Mathematics in the Climate of Global Change
  • On Soap Bubbles
  • Chance and Mathematics: A Late Love
The authors do a reasonable job at making applications of complex mathematics understandable. Be forewarned that they expect you to work with them through their explanations...and join them in the conclusion that "yes, mathematics is everwhere!"