Preface to the German
During the years 2003 and 2004 there appeared the ﬁrst and, so far,
only regular column on mathematics in a newspaper read throughout
Germany. “F¨ unf Minuten Mathematik” appeared every Monday in
Die Welt, and the Berliner Morgenpost reprinted the column several
By the end of two years, one hundred columns had been pub-
lished, covering a wide variety of topics. Regular readers of the col-
umn obtained an overview of cryptography and coding theory, as well
as insights into the fascination of prime numbers and the inﬁnite,
mathematics in the CD player and CAT scan, the notorious Monty
Hall problem and other mysteries of probability theory, to name but
a few of the subjects covered.
This book contains all one hundred articles. They have been
carefully revised and expanded with explanatory texts, tables, and
ﬁgures that have more than doubled the original length.
Everyone with an interest in learning more about aspects of con-
temporary mathematics that can be explained without assuming any
specialized knowledge will ﬁnd something of interest in these pages.