Softcover ISBN:  9781470464981 
Product Code:  HAPPENING/12 
List Price:  $25.00 
MAA Member Price:  $22.50 
AMS Member Price:  $20.00 
Softcover ISBN:  9781470464981 
Product Code:  HAPPENING/12 
List Price:  $25.00 
MAA Member Price:  $22.50 
AMS Member Price:  $20.00 

Book DetailsWhat's Happening in the Mathematical SciencesVolume: 12; 2022; 126 pp
As always, What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences presents a selection of topics in mathematics that have attracted particular attention in recent years. This volume is dominated by an event that shook the world in 2020 and 2021, the coronavirus (or COVID19) pandemic. While the world turned to politicians and physicians for guidance, mathematicians played a key role in the background, forecasting the epidemic and providing rational frameworks for making decisions. The first three chapters of this book highlight several of their contributions, ranging from advising governors and city councils to predicting the effect of vaccines to identifying possibly dangerous “escape variants” that could reinfect people who already had the disease.
In recent years, scientists have sounded louder and louder alarms about another global threat: climate change. Climatologists predict that the frequency of hurricanes and waves of extreme heat will change. But to even define an “extreme” or a “change,” let alone to predict the direction of change, is not a climate problem: it's a math problem. Mathematicians have been developing new techniques, and reviving old ones, to help climate modelers make such assessments.
In a more lighthearted vein, “Descartes' Homework” describes how a famous mathematician's blunder led to the discovery of new properties of foamlike structures called Apollonian packings. “Square Pegs and Squiggly Holes” shows that square pegs fit virtually any kind of hole, not just circular ones. “Much Ado About Zero” explains how difficult problems about eigenvalues of matrices can sometimes be answered by playing a simple game that involves coloring dots on a grid or a graph.
Finally, “Dancing on the Edge of the Impossible” provides a progress report on one of the oldest and still most important challenges in number theory: to devise an effective algorithm for finding all of the rationalnumber points on an algebraic curve. In the great majority of cases, number theorists know that the number of solutions is finite, yet they cannot tell when they have found the last one. However, two recently proposed methods show potential for breaking the impasse.
ReadershipUndergraduate and graduate students interested in expository accounts of recent developments in mathematics.

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... a very nice collection of items where mathematics plays an essential role and that can be read by anyone with only a very elementary knowledge about mathematics. Several of the subjects discussed are not only interesting from a mathematical point of view, but they are also important from a social point of view. Dana Mackenzie once more succeeds in selecting these juicy topics and bring these in a pleasant and entertaining way.
Adhemar Bultheel (Leuven), zbMATHOpen 
A new volume of this series usually sparks a great deal of interest, and this installment deserves to do the same. Dana Mackenzie has once again delivered an interesting collection of topical vignettes on current mathematical research.
Michele Intermont, Kalamazoo College


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As always, What's Happening in the Mathematical Sciences presents a selection of topics in mathematics that have attracted particular attention in recent years. This volume is dominated by an event that shook the world in 2020 and 2021, the coronavirus (or COVID19) pandemic. While the world turned to politicians and physicians for guidance, mathematicians played a key role in the background, forecasting the epidemic and providing rational frameworks for making decisions. The first three chapters of this book highlight several of their contributions, ranging from advising governors and city councils to predicting the effect of vaccines to identifying possibly dangerous “escape variants” that could reinfect people who already had the disease.
In recent years, scientists have sounded louder and louder alarms about another global threat: climate change. Climatologists predict that the frequency of hurricanes and waves of extreme heat will change. But to even define an “extreme” or a “change,” let alone to predict the direction of change, is not a climate problem: it's a math problem. Mathematicians have been developing new techniques, and reviving old ones, to help climate modelers make such assessments.
In a more lighthearted vein, “Descartes' Homework” describes how a famous mathematician's blunder led to the discovery of new properties of foamlike structures called Apollonian packings. “Square Pegs and Squiggly Holes” shows that square pegs fit virtually any kind of hole, not just circular ones. “Much Ado About Zero” explains how difficult problems about eigenvalues of matrices can sometimes be answered by playing a simple game that involves coloring dots on a grid or a graph.
Finally, “Dancing on the Edge of the Impossible” provides a progress report on one of the oldest and still most important challenges in number theory: to devise an effective algorithm for finding all of the rationalnumber points on an algebraic curve. In the great majority of cases, number theorists know that the number of solutions is finite, yet they cannot tell when they have found the last one. However, two recently proposed methods show potential for breaking the impasse.
Undergraduate and graduate students interested in expository accounts of recent developments in mathematics.

... a very nice collection of items where mathematics plays an essential role and that can be read by anyone with only a very elementary knowledge about mathematics. Several of the subjects discussed are not only interesting from a mathematical point of view, but they are also important from a social point of view. Dana Mackenzie once more succeeds in selecting these juicy topics and bring these in a pleasant and entertaining way.
Adhemar Bultheel (Leuven), zbMATHOpen 
A new volume of this series usually sparks a great deal of interest, and this installment deserves to do the same. Dana Mackenzie has once again delivered an interesting collection of topical vignettes on current mathematical research.
Michele Intermont, Kalamazoo College