Who would expect to find in *Mathematics Magazine *an interview by Mike Wallace of *60 Minutes* of a 12-year-old boy in New York who had published an article on a number system with an irrational base and who would go on to a significant career as a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley? And who would expect to find in the pages of the *Magazine* the first full treatment of one of the more important and oft-cited twentieth century theorems in analysis, the Stone-Weierstrass Theorem-in an article by Marshall Stone himself. Where else would one look for proofs of trigonometric identities using commutative ring theory? Or one of the earliest and best expository articles on the then new Jones knot polynomials, an article that won the prestigious Chauvenet Prize? Or an amusing article purporting to show that the value of phas been time dependent over the years? This and much more is in this collection of the "best" from *Mathematics Magazine*.

Readers are inundated with new material in the many mathematical journals. Gems from past issues of *Mathematics Magazine *or the *Monthly* or the *College Mathematics Journal *are read with pleasure when they appear, but get pushed into the background when the next issues arrive. So from time to time it is rewarding to go back and see just what marvelous material has been published over the years, articles not to some extent forgotten. There is history of mathematics (algebraic, numbers, inequalities, probability, and the Lebesque integral, quaternions, Pólya's enumeration theorem, and group theory) and history of mathematicians (Hypatia, Gauss, E.T. Bell, Hamilton, and Euler).

The list of authors is star-studded: E.T. Bell, Otto Neugebaur, D.H. Lehmer, Morris Kline, Einar Hille, Richard Bellman, Judith Grabiner, Paul Erdös, B.L. van der Waerden, Paul R. Halmos, Doris Schattschneider, J.J. Burckhardt, Branko Grübaum, and many more. Eight of the articles included have received the Carl L. Allendoerfer or Lester R. Ford Awards.

### Table of Contents

Introduction

A Brief History of Mathematics Magazine

Part I: The First Fifteen Years

Part II: The 1940s

Part III: The 1950s

Part IV: The 1960s

Part V: The 1970s

Part VI: The 1980s

Briefly Noted

The Problem Section

Index

About the Editors

### About the Editors

**Gerald L. Alexanderson** grew up in Northern California and except for undergraduate years at the University of Oregon and short assignments in Illinois and Switzerland, has spent his life there. After graduate school at Stanford University, he joined the faculty at Santa Clara University where he is in his 50th year of teaching. He served as department chair for 35 years and holds the Valeriote Professorship in Science. From 1986 to 1990 he was editor of *Mathematics Magazine*, having served between 1984 and 1986 as First Vice President of the Mathematical Association of America, later as Secretary and finally, as President in 1997-99. By the most recent count he has served on 64 MAA committees or editorial boards and may hold a near record tenure on the MAA Board of Governors, 24 years. Active in various other professional societies, he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Senate for 12 years. In 2005 the MAA awarded him both the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics and the Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics.

In addition to articles in professional journals he has written, coauthored or coedited the following books: *Functional Trigonometry, A First Undergraduate Course in Abstract Algebra, Mathematical People, the Santa Clara Silver Anniversary Problem Book, The William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competitions: Problems and Solutions 1965-1984, International Mathematical Congress: An Illustrated History, Discrete and Combinatorial Mathematics, The Pólya Picture Album, More Mathematical People, Lion Hunting and Other Mathematical Pursuits,* and *The Random Walks of George Pólya.*

**Pete Ross** was raised in the Midwest (born in Evanston, Illinois and attended high school in Madison, Wisconsin), but attended colleges on both coasts. After getting a BS from MIT and an MA from the University of California at Berkeley, he taught mathematics and physics in India as a Peace Corps Volunteer from 1963 to 1965. With several more interludes of working for the government on “new math,” he eventually completed his PhD at Berkeley the day after his 40th birthday, and has taught in universities since then.

Peter has been at Santa Clara University since 1982, teaching mathematics and some computer science. He has been active in the Mathematical Association of America, including writing Media Highlights and book reviews for the *College Mathematics Journal* since 1985. His hobbies include music, as a choral singer, and bicycle-commuting to work in San Jose, the tenth largest city in the country. He has worked with the Sierra Club on eleven “service trips” in locations as diverse as Siberia, the Yukon, Mount Whitney, and Death Valley.