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Opportunities for the Few

Consider this claim: "In 2005, there were only 17,000 bachelor's degrees awarded in mathematics by U.S. colleges, about 1% of all bachelor's degrees. This is relatively few, given the exciting discoveries in mathematics in the past decade and the enormous flood of expository and popular literature about mathematics."

Question 1: Does this claim sound right? For example, are there 1,700,000 bachelor's bestowed each year? Also, investigate...what is the most "popular" major?

Question 2: Given the nature of college curricula and requirements, do you think any recent graduates in mathematics have any idea as to "the exciting discoveries in mathematics in the past decade"? Or, could even name one book(let alone say they have read it) that is part of the "enormous flood of expository and popular literature about mathematics"?

Overall, this is a sad statistic...or commentary!

Source: From a Book Review, Mathematics Magazine, February 2007, p. 84