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Wagstaff Jr.’s book “The Joy of Factoring” a 2014 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.


The American Library Association (ALA) has named Samuel S. Wagstaff Jr.'s book "The Joy of Factoring" (American Mathematical Society Press, 2013) as a 2014 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title.

"CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries" is the premier source for reviews of academic books and digital resources of interest to scholars and students in higher education. More than 35,000 librarians, faculty, and key decision makers rely on CHOICE magazine and CHOICE Reviews Online for collection development and scholarly research. Every year in the January issue, "CHOICE" publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The list is quite selective: it contains approximately ten percent of some 7,000 works reviewed in Choice each year. Choice editors base their selections on the reviewer's evaluation of the work, the editor's knowledge of the field, and the reviewer's record.

To quote the June 2014 review by J. T. Zerger (Catawba College):

"Wagstaff highlights the importance of factoring and brings the current methods of factoring large integers up to date in this text. He presents the subject from a historical perspective via the Cunningham project and coding theory as the motivation for the most useful applications in the field. Assuming that his audience has a basic understanding of number theory, linear algebra, and calculus, he presents numerous factoring methods including Aurifeuillian, Pollard's rho, and the continued fraction algorithm. The elliptic curve method and the numerous sieve algorithms are covered in an easy-to-follow manner. The author includes a fair number of examples as illustrations for the power of the methods as well as their shortcomings. Virtually every algorithm is presented with pseudocode for the convenience of computer-oriented readers. Lastly, Wagstaff exposes readers to factoring using quantum physics and DNA molecules. This work is a pleasure to read; it is a must for anyone interested in numbers, programming, and codes. The extensive bibliography gives readers direction and the tools to quickly delve deeper into the field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers/faculty."

More information can be found at the American Library Association's web site ( or the American Mathematical Society's web site (

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