Much has been written about the immigration of Jewish scholars and others who opposed or feared the Nazis to the United States and other countries. A new book focuses on one discipline -- mathematics -- and how this migration affected not only those who moved, but scholarship. The book is Mathematicians Fleeing from Nazi Germany: Individual Fates and Global Impact, by Reinhard Siegmund-Schultze, professor of the history of mathematics at the University of Agder, in Norway.
Public college systems in Maryland, Kentucky and New York increase admissions requirements or placement thresholds for credit-bearing courses in mathematics, a subject in which many entering college students are ill prepared.
For 30 years, starting in the spring of 1977, Steven Strogatz maintained an occasional correspondence with his high school calculus teacher, Don Joffray. During that time, both Strogatz and Joffray experienced great changes in their lives -- from professional successes to family tragedies -- yet their letters focused almost entirely on mathematics, rarely mentioning personal matters at all.
Mathematics, as a discipline, seems to have garnered far more than its fair share of stereotypes (however untrue): It's difficult (especially for women and assorted minorities); it's dry and boring; it's the province of socially deficient nerds; students only take it because it's a requirement. (Well, O.K., that last one might be less of a stereotype and more of a ...