y(a2 + x2) = a3

Matt emailed me yesterday for a bit of a nostalgia exchange, and mentioned that there had been an article on The Witch of Agnesi in New Scientist a few weeks back… My NS days being far behind me, I was all set to search the NS online for it, and failing that (or if it required a paid subscription), the magazine in Barbican or Battersea library.

Today, Matt sent me the link to the article, and I’ve made use of the free trial subscription to take a look at it…. why? just to see if it bore any passing similarities to my prize-winning degree project (no hiding my light under bushel here!). It does, but not more so than the University of St Andrews’ / MacTutor History of Mathematics archive entries for the Witch of Agnesi and Maria Gaetana Agnesi. I’ve never found out whether that made use of my project or not. It certainly doesn’t pre-date it.

For those still reading, the article details are as follows:
Magazine section: Grapevine
Title: The word the witch of agnesi
New Scientist vol 178 issue 2399 – 14 June 2003, page 51

And another thing Matt-the-microbiologist mentioned was that he is about to go on a Perl programming course…. this explains why.