The Mathematical Tourist
By Ivars Peterson
September 13, 2007
Among the three journals published by the MAA, The College Mathematics Journal (CMJ) has the shortest history. It started in 1970 as The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, published by Prindle, Weber & Schmidt in collaboration with the MAA. Issues initially appeared twice a year. As the title suggests, its focus was on the teaching of mathematics in two-year colleges. It was meant to be a forum for mathematicians interested in the special curricular and pedagogical challenges presented by such institutions.
In 1984, the publication became The College Mathematics Journal, published five times per year. Instead of focusing solely on the concerns of two-year colleges, the renamed journal was to serve all who were interested in the earlier years of college-level mathematics, especially the first two years. Editors looked for lively articles to enrich instruction and enhance classroom learning. Articles highlighted history, people, philosophy, problem-solving, applications, and more. And there was room for proofs without words, poetry, quotations, cartoons, and other such items.
All CMJ issues, as long as they are more than three years old, are now available on the Web through the JSTOR archive, a database to which many college libraries and other institutions subscribe.
Use of the JSTOR archive has been increasing steadily over the years since CMJ first became available in this form in 2002, and it's now possible to see which of its hundreds of articles have been particularly appealing or useful. Here are the fifteen most frequently viewed articles to date:
I was very pleased to see one of my favorite articles on the list: George Markowsky's debunking of various myths commonly associated with the golden ratio. Like the list of top articles for Mathematics Magazine, the CMJ list also suggests a strong interest in history. Authors Israel Kleiner and Carl B. Boyer have articles on both lists. Boyer's account of the history of calculus, published in the first issue of The Two-Year College Mathematics Journal, is a reprint of an article that originally appeared in 1969 in Historical Topics for the Classroom (Thirty-First Yearbook of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).
For anyone who does not have access to the JSTOR archive at a local library, these articles will soon be available individually from JSTOR for a fee (and they can be found in a Google search). MAA members also have the option of obtaining an individual subscription to JSTOR, which provides access to the full archives of not only The College Mathematics Journal but also The American Mathematical Monthly and Mathematics Magazine.
Comments are welcome. You can reach Ivars Peterson at email@example.com.
References:Peterson, I. 2007. Math Mag's greatest hits. MAA Online (June 8).
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