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For Release: April 30, 1998

Janice Johnson
(757) 864-6123

RELEASE NO. 98-020


Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences

Mathematical illiteracy can put readers at a disadvantage in thinking about issues in the news that may seem on the surface not to involve mathematics at all. Dr. John Allen Paulos will present a talk on "Innumeracy, Newspapers and Democracy" at a colloquium on Tuesday, May 5, at 2 p.m.

A media briefing will be held at 1:15 p.m. in the Wythe Room of the NASA Langley H.J.E. Reid Conference Center, 14 Langley Blvd. in Hampton. Media who wish to attend this briefing should contact Janice Johnson (757) 864-6123.

Paulos, a best-selling author, mathematician and public speaker, will discuss "Innumeracy" and his most recent book, "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper." The book investigates the mathematical angles of news stories, such as how probability and randomness can enhance articles on crime, health risks or other societal obsessions, or how logic and self-reference may help to clarify the work of spin-doctors.

Paulos is a professor of mathematics at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is the author of a number of papers on mathematical logic, probability and the philosophy of science, and the author of the best-seller book "Innumeracy."

A similar presentation will be given by Paulos at 7:30 p.m. at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton.


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