Science: Mathematics of Democracy

Last week, as the Census Bureau organized its 1940 figures, a Harvard mathematician was studying a still unsolved problem in algebra unwittingly posed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The Constitution says: "Representatives ... shall be apportioned among the several States ... according to their respective numbers . . . but each State shall have at least one Representative." "This problem," points out Harvard Mathematician Edward Vermilye Huntington, "has worried Congress into a state of great perplexity and bitter debate after every decennial census for over a hundred years." In a 41-page Senate Document he recently tackled the problem.

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