Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Sonya Del Tredici

May, 1998

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 10:37:41 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sonya Del Tredici <>
To: All Dr. Math Doctors
Subject: Doctor Math in May
MIME-Version: 1.0

Doctor Math in May

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
--Albert Einstein, Reader's Digest, Oct. 1977.


Hello everyone!   Due to some mild recruiting efforts, Dr. Math has 14 
new math doctors:  Goodyer, Jeremiah, Bob, Santu, Schwa, Frank, Marsett, 
Mateo, Pat, Alice, Edward, Denise, Peterson, and M.  They have all been 
doing an excellent job, answering a total of 387 questions for us this 
month, pushing our total number of questions answered to 1377 (out of 
3300 received).  

We still want more doctors though, and will be working hard in the 
Holding Tank throughout the summer.  So if you have any math-y friends or 
relatives who might want to be math doctors, send them our way.  They can 
take a tour and fill out an application at:

If friends of yours do apply, tell me who they are, and I'll make sure 
that they get accounts quickly.

Speaking of the Holding Tank, some of you may have noticed work by our 
two new Dr. Math administrators, Tim (Doctor Timothy) Bretl and Stacey 
(Doctor Stacey) Bearden.  Their e-mail addresses are, respectively, and, and you can 
write them with any questions or suggestions you may have.

We also added a new FAQ this month on Fermat's Last Theorem:

Linked to this page is a very nice answer written by Doctor Anthony,

that gives some background on the proof, and describes what elliptic 
curves and modular forms have to do with it.  I highly recommend it for 
anyone who wants to begin understanding how Fermat's last theorem was 
finally proved.

Just so you know that Dr. Math is appreciated, here are a sampling of the 
numerous thank-you notes we receive in Triage every day. 
For Dr. Barrus--

THANKS ever so much, this was extremely useful, now I can go on to pass 
my semester exam, score an A, save the planet from math hell, and all due 
to a friendly e-mail adventure, Thanks again, Barrett Bridenhagen

P.S. I am advertising for you!
For Dr. Gary--

Dr. Math,
        Thank you for answering my e-mail. I really appreciated it.  It 
helped me a lot .I now know what that means. My teacher asked where I got 
that from and I told her.  She likes the way you explained it.
       Thank You,
             Lindsey Lane Jordan
You will be getting another e-mail from me soon I like what it says and I 
am passing it on to you.
For Dr. Sorelle--

Hey, thanks so much for the answer concerning the magical number nine!  
I've been asking every mathematically inclined person I know to help with 
this problem. You guys are really sharp.  Many thanks again.   Fred
For Dr. Rob--

hello dr math,
thanks a lot for the proof. i didn't understand everything but i will try 
and figure it out. ill let you know if i have further questions.

thanks a lot once again.
kumarpal sheth
For Dr. Jeremiah--

dr math thanks  for the help you gave me on that math problem!  because 
of your help I got 100% on my math test!  thanks, joy!
For Dr. Dawn--

Thank you very much for responding to my question so quickly Dr. Dawn & 
Dr. Math.  You have been a big help!
For Dr. Schwa--

I want to thank you for your help with my math homework.  I did not 
expect such a prompt and informative reply; I was pleasantly surprised.  
Thanks again!!!!!
For Dr. Anthony--

Thank you for answering my trig problems, it really helped out. Now I 
know who can help me when I need help. It helped a lot. Thanks again!!!!!
For Everybody--

Thank you.  I think Dr Math is the best thing that happened to students.

Thanks once again

Once again everybody, thanks for all of your hard work.

Sonya Del Tredici

Dr. Math Administrator