Roger Penrose on Numberphile


UPDATE [6 October 2020]:  Roger Penrose is one of the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics.  Congratulations!

Numberphile has posted an audio interview with Roger Penrose on their YouTube channel Numberphile2.  You can also access it as audio-only from their websiteContinue reading

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The Mathematics Genealogy Project moves to the cloud

Mathematics Genealogy Project Main Page screenshotThe Mathematics Genealogy Project (MGP) has a new home on the internet:  It is all the same content, and still brought to you by the NDSU Department of Mathematics, with support from the American Mathematical Society​.  Now, however, the website and the data are on cloud servers, for increased stability.  Check it out!  Continue reading

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Happy 121st Birthday, Otto Neugebauer

Today is Otto Neugebauer’s birthday (May 26, 1899 — February 19, 1990). Normally, Mathematical Reviews would have a gathering in our kitchen with a cake. And I would remind people that Neugebauer left Europe, eventually ending up in Providence, Rhode Island, because he opposed the demands being put on Zentralblatt by the Nazis with regards to Jewish editors and reviewers, and attempts to maintain a German identity for the journal. But we are working remotely now, so I wrote a long message to the staff at Mathematical Reviews instead, reminding them that our origin story is one of a principled person acting to maintain those values. Continue reading

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An online event about hosting online events

On May 20 at 2pm Eastern, Bianca Viray and Drew Sutherland will be moderating a panel discussion on hosting mathematics events online.  The panelists are all mathematicians who have recently organized online workshops or conferences.  Their hope is that the discussion will allow those who are planning future online events to benefit from the panelists’ experience. You can find more details here. Continue reading

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A short video about MathSciNet

vimeo logoThere is a three-minute video about MathSciNet now available online on Vimeo. It is also available as part of a blog post from EBSCO, which mostly discusses Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month and the really neat book Living Proof: Stories of Resilience Along the Mathematical Journey, which is free online.  There is an on-going “Living Proof” blog that has even more stories.

The video discusses Mathematical Reviews and MathSciNet generally.  It also highlights the version of MathSciNet that is available via EBSOhost, a discovery platform for multiple disciplines.  Most of the screenshots in the video are of the EBSCOhost version.

The production work was all done by the people at EBSCO.  I am very grateful to them for putting this together.  Videos require a lot of work, time, and talent.  They did a great job.

Stay safe.  Stay healthy.

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John Horton Conway

John Horton Conway died on April 11 of COVID-19. He was 82 years old. In the midst of social distancing measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, a common refrain is “life goes on”.  But sometimes it doesn’t.

Conway was an emeritus professor at Princeton University.  Among mathematicians, he was known for his breadth and cleverness, as well as his personality and his seemingly infinite curiosity.   In MathSciNet, a bit over one quarter of his papers are in number theory, about a sixth in group theory, and a tenth in convex or discrete geometry.  The rest are dispersed about 20 other classes in the MSC.  Conway managed to make lasting contributions in those other 20 areas, such as his work in algebraic topology and knot theory, where he has an invariant named after him: the Alexander-Conway polynomial.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Conway was frequently contributing puzzles, games, and ideas to Martin Gardner, who would write about them in his famous column in Scientific American.

Continue reading

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Some updates during the coronavirus | COVID-19 epidemic

The world is responding to the global coronavirus and COVID-19 epidemic in many ways.  One of the most important is by socially distancing ourselves from one another.   While this helps slow the spread of the epidemic, it also cuts us off from friends and family.  Most people are also cut off from their places of work. Below I describe two changes from the AMS in response to the epidemic.  The first change is a way in which it is possible to set up remote pairing without direct access to your institution.  The second is a change for reviewers in the time you have to review, plus information about how to go to “Inactive” status temporarily. Continue reading

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Hillel Furstenberg & Grigoriĭ Margulis win Abel Prize

"Abel Prize" in wordsHillel Furstenberg and Grigoriĭ Margulis have been announced as the winners of the 2020 Abel Prize.  You can read the official announcement here.   There is a news item about the prize on the AMS website.  Needless to say, they have made tremendous contributions to mathematics. In this post, I will point out a few things about Furstenberg and Margulis from MathSciNet. Continue reading

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Mathematics and epidemiology

Mathematics & Epidemiology text blockMathematics is a useful tool in studying the growth of infections in a population, such as what occurs in epidemics.  A simple model is given by a first-order differential equation, the logistic equation, $\frac{dx}{dy}=\beta x(1-x)$ which is discussed in almost any textbook on differential equations.  It can be found, for instance, in Chapter 2 of Boyce and DiPrima’s book Elementary Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems.  (See MR0179403 for a short review of the first edition, from 1965.)  This is a rudimentary model, but mathematicians have built on it to create more realistic, hence more useful models.  There is an informative explanation of how to use a mathematical model for epidemics, including the importance of determining the reproductive number $R_0$ of an infectious disease, in this video made by Tom Britton, a professor of mathematical statistics at Stockholm University.  Britton is one of the authors of

Diekmann, Odo(NL-UTRE-NDM)Heesterbeek, Hans(NL-UTRE-NDM)Britton, Tom(S-STOC-NDM)
Mathematical tools for understanding infectious disease dynamics.
Princeton Series in Theoretical and Computational Biology. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2013. xiv+502 pp. ISBN: 978-0-691-15539-5
92-01 (62P10 92D30)

the review of which is copied below.

If you are interested in exploring some of the mathematics used in modeling epidemics, you can search MathSciNet using the MSC 92D30, which is the five-digit class for epidemiology, in particular, in the context of population dynamics.  Besides the review of Britton’s book, some other reviews are also copied below, to help give a sense of the mathematics used in epidemiology. Continue reading

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The editors of Mathematical Reviews and zbMATH have finished the latest revision of the Mathematics Subject Classification, MSC2020.  The official announcement is published jointly in the March 2020 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society and the March 2020 issue of the Newsletter for the European Mathematical Society.  The Notices version is available already online here. I will add a direct link to the version in the Newsletter when that has been posted.

A PDF version of the new classification is available here.

Please see the earlier post about the MSC2020 project.



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