The Beckenbach Book Prize, established in 1986, is the successor to the MAA Book Prize which was established in 1982. It is named for the late Edwin Beckenbach, a long-time leader in the publications program of the Association and a well-known professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles. This prize is awarded to an author of a distinguished, innovative book published by the MAA. The award is not given on a regularly scheduled basis, but is given only when a book appears that is judged to be truly outstanding.
William P. Berlinghoff and Fernando Q. Gouvêa
Math through the Ages: a Gentle History for Teachers and Others, the Mathematical Association of America & Oxton House Publishers, 2004.
Math through the Ages: a Gentle History for Teachers and Others consists of twenty-five short historical sketches of important topics in general mathematics and a 54-page mathematical "history in a large nutshell." The graceful writing in William P. Berlinghoff and Fernando Q. GouvÍaís short expanded edition has the great advantage of being appealingly readable to a wide audience ranging from secondary school and liberal arts students through the mathematical communityís educators and practitioners. For each of the important concepts it treats, a carefully chosen sketch concisely brings together in a single unified chapter its many centuries of development. Selections begin with the development of notation and numerical concepts, continuing on through modern topics such as set theory, game theory, statistics and computing. Its careful organization succinctly brings together historical concepts that a teacher would most need to know and what a student might most likely want to pursue further. Along with the thoughtful inclusion of cross-references, accessible exercises and student projects, the book concludes with a valuable discussion of historical books and websites for further reading, concluding with an extensive bibliography. The beautiful writing makes it difficult for a reader to put the book down, and it is inviting to jump from one historical sketch to another. The Beckenbach Book Prize Committee recommends that the MAA commend the authors and the joint publisher (Oxton House Publishers) for this enjoyable and useful book.
William P. Berlinghoff earned his B.S. from Holy Cross, M.A. from Boston College, and Ph.D. from Wesleyan University, where he specialized in abelian group theory. Recently retired from college teaching after more than 40 years, he has been a full-time faculty member at The College of Saint Rose, a tenured professor at Southern Connecticut State University and, most recently, a Visiting Professor at Colby College. He is the author or co-author of five college textbooks and a Senior Writer of MATH Connections, an NSF-supported, NCTM Standards-based core curriculum for high school students. He and his wife, Phyllis Fischer, currently live in Farmington, Maine, where they own and manage Oxton House, a small educational publishing company. Once a week or so, folksinger Bill Berlinghoff can be found entertaining with his guitar and banjo at a nearby restaurant or coffeehouse.
Response from William P. Berlinghoff
Math through the Ages began with a hallway conversation at Colby College about six years ago. For me, it is the culmination of many years of trying to transmit a sense of the humanity and charm of mathematics to elementary and high school teachers and, through them, to their students. It was an enjoyable, instructive, sometimes humbling collaboration, with Fernandoís meticulous scholarship counterbalancing my enthusiasm for simplicity. As we worked through our disagreements over ideas, passages, and even single words, the blend of our different perspectives took us beyond where either of us could easily have gone alone. Then the vision and encouragement of Don Albers, to whom we are especially grateful, challenged us to extend the original text by adding many pages of questions and projects, resulting in the richer Expanded Edition. I am delighted that the MAA has chosen to honor this book with the Beckenbach Book Prize.
Fernando Q. GouvÍa was born in Brazil and received his B.A. and M.A. in mathematics at the University of S„o Paulo. He then went to Harvard for his Ph.D. After some years teaching in S„o Paulo and in Canada, he settled down in Waterville, Maine to teach at Colby College, where he is now the Carter Professor of Mathematics. Number theory was GouvÍaís first love; his work in that field deals mostly with the p-adic theory of modular forms and its connections to Galois representations. Since the mid-1990ís, when he took part in the MAAís Institute on the History of Mathematics and its Use in Teaching, he has developed a growing interest in the history of mathematics, especially the history of algebra and number theory. In addition to Math through the Ages, GouvÍa has written two research monographs, Arithmetic of p-adic Modular Forms and Arithmetic of Diagonal Hypersurfaces over Finite Fields (with Noriko Yui), and the undergraduate textbook p-adic Numbers: An Introduction. GouvÍa is the editor of FOCUS, the news magazine of the MAA, and of FOCUS Online. In addition, he runs the MAAís online book review and books database, MAA Reviews, which is part of the MAAís Mathematics Digital Library. He is fond of describing himself as "Christian, orthodox, Brazilian, American, conservative, husband, father, member of a Lutheran church, Sunday School teacher, choir director, editor, author, dog owner, bibliophile, wine geek, adoptive Mainer, historian wannabe, and the proud possessor of a graying scraggly beard."
Response from Fernando Q. Gouvêa
When Bill Berlinghoff suggested that we write a collection of short accounts of the history of common topics in the school mathematics curriculum, I had no idea how much fun it would be to actually do it. Collaborating with Bill was a great experience: we argued about the history, delved into original sources, and complained about — and improved upon — each other's sentences. Billís understanding of our potential audience played a crucial role in toning down my tendency towards the highfalutin. When we undertook to add problems and projects for the Expanded Edition, one of my major goals was to come up with ideas that would impress Bill, and he, I think, did the same. We think it worked! I am pleased and excited with the resulting book, and I am delighted that the Beckenbach prize committee felt the same way.
The Chauvenet Prize is awarded at the Annual Meeting of the Association to the author of an outstanding expository article on a mathematical topic by a member of the Association. First awarded in 1925, the Prize is named for William Chauvenet, a professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy. It was established through a gift in 1925 from J.L. Coolidge, then MAA President. Winners of the Chauvenet Prize are among the most distinguished of mathematical expositors.
Andrew J. Simoson
"The Gravity of Hades," Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 75, No. 5, December 2002, pp. 335-350.
The central question of this paper, "Is the acceleration due to gravity stronger or weaker as we descend into the Earth?," relates to celestial mechanics. The author answers this question for several models of the Earth's structure that have been proposed over the centuries. The article is accessible to undergraduates who have had multivariable calculus and who are familiar with Newton's law of gravitational force, even for students who are not yet in tune with abstract mathematics.
The paper is both amusing (how often does a paper in mathematics touch on Hades?) and learned. It is beautifully written and expertly illustrated with passages from Ovid, Dante, and Milton. The whole story started in the classroom when the author was discussing how gravity changes as one rises above the Earth's surface and wondered aloud about the reciprocal question. After a few minutes listening to his braver students reasoning aloud, he says that he realized that he himself did not know how gravity changes with depth.
The paper concludes with an analysis of a body falling through a classically envisioned hole through the Earth. This is all well and good, under reasonable assumptions such as "no resistance." But doesn't the rotation of the Earth have an impact? Yes, and because of it, a free-falling object would keep bumping into the wall of the hole. The author addresses this problem in a subsequent article, "Falling down a Hole through the Earth," also published in Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 77, No. 3, June 2004, 171-189. Here he determines how the classical hole should be redesigned to take the Earth's rotation into account. Assuming a linear gravitational field within the Earth, he finds that the pebble would follow a path that would miss the center by over 300 kilometers! As in the first article, different models give different answers.
The MAA is happy to direct this delightful paper to the attention of the mathematical community, including students who have just finished the calculus sequence, and we are happy to recognize Professor Simoson with the 2007 Chauvenet Prize.
Andrew J. Simoson received a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1979 under Dr. Leonard Asimow at the University of Wyoming where he worked on extensions of separation theorems in infinite dimensional spaces. Since then he has been chairman of the Mathematics Department at King College in Bristol, Tennessee, except for two Fulbright sabbatical years, at the University of Botswana and the University of Dar es Salaam. He has the good fortune to have a MAA book just off the presses, Hesiod's Anvil: Falling and Spinning through Heaven and Earth, the thirtieth volume in the Dolciani series. Its second chapter is a version of "The Gravity of Hades."
Response from Andrew Simoson
By way of responding to the honor of this award, let me thank some people. Thanks to students for thinking aloud in brainstorming sessions. Thanks to editors for considering unsolicited manuscripts. In submitting mine, I was afraid that upon scanning "The Gravity of Hades" title, the editor would dismiss it as crank material. Thanks to referees for giving of their time and expertise. For example, in evaluating a sequel submission, one referee kindly pointed out to me that the first few pages of the Principia contain the same conclusions as mine. I was only 320 years behind Newton. Finally, thanks to the readers for deeming this article as having significant merit.
The Euler Book Prize shall be given to the author or authors of an outstanding book about mathematics. Mathematical monographs at the undergraduate level, histories, biographies, works of mathematical fiction, and anthologies shall be among those types of books eligible for the Prize. They shall be judged on clarity of exposition and the degree to which they have had or show promise of having a positive impact on the publicís view of mathematics in the United States and Canada. A textbook, though not normally eligible for this award, could be recognized if the Committee on the Euler Book Prize is convinced that it is innovative, distinctive, well written, and very likely to have a long-standing impact on mathematics.
The prize was established in 2005 and will be given every year at a national meeting of the Association, beginning in 2007, the 300th anniversary of the birth of Leonhard Euler. This award also honors Virginia and Paul Halmos whose generosity made the award possible.
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics, Joseph Henry Press (National Academies Press), 2003.
Mathematical sagas donít get much better than this, the story of the Riemann Hypothesis, close to 150 years old and referred to by the author of this book as "the great white whale of mathematical research." And the cast is stellar: Euler, Gauss, Dirichlet, Chebyshev, Riemann, and, more recently, Hilbert, Hadamard, Landau, Hardy, Littlewood, Půlya, Siegel, Selberg, Dyson, Deligne, Montgomery, Connes, and Odlyzko, among others. Itís a century and a half of stories, all about a problem Ė the distribution of the primes Ė that is fiendishly difficult and a conjecture that, if proved, would have profound consequences.
Many great and famous unsolved problems that took decades or centuries to solve (Fermatís Last Theorem, the four color problem, for example) or that remain to be solved (Goldbachís conjecture, the twin prime conjecture) are easy to explain to the lay public. The Riemann Hypothesis is definitely not one of these and writing about it is a special challenge, a task that John Derbyshire accomplishes most successfully in recounting the story of the pursuit of this most elusive mathematical beast. The chapters for the most part alternate between historical or biographical essays and explanations of the mathematics, all done in an appealing conversational style. Thus, the book covers the rich history of the problem and conveys to the non-specialist reader the reasons the problem is interesting and important, not only in mathematics but possibly in physics. It is the eighth of Hilbertís 23 problems from 1900, providing an agenda for mathematicians in the 20th century. It now becomes the fourth of the Clay Instituteís Millennium Problems that give us an agenda for the 21st century. The saga goes on.
John Derbyshire was born June 3, 1945 in Northampton, England. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics at the University College, London, where he studied under C.A. Rogers, Klaus Roth, and Theodor Estermann. Until the late 1990ís Derbyshire was a developer of mainframe computer systems for large corporations in Britain, the U.S.A., and the Far East. In 1996 he began to supplement his career with writing, and since 2001 writing has become his full-time occupation. Derbyshire writes books (two novels, two pop-math books), does commentaries, book reviews, and the like for magazines, both print and on-line. He is a naturalized U.S. citizen, is married with two children, and lives in Long Island, New York.
Response from John Derbyshire
Since Prime Obsession came out I have received a steady trickle of mail from strangers offering 20-page proofs of the truth or falsehood of the Riemann Hypothesis. I explain patiently, and truthfully, to these people that I am not a mathematician, only a freelance writer with a degree in mathematics. As such, to find myself elevated, if only briefly, into the company of real mathematicians—men and women whose work I admire from afar—is an honor I did not expect, and for which I hardly know how to express my gratitude. I shall treasure this prize. I thank the MAA Board of Governors with all my heart for selecting my book. It is, for me, a wonderful bonus that the prize is named after Leonhard Euler, a great favorite of mine among past mathematicians, as the affectionate portrait of him in Prime Obsession shows. Thank you.
The Gung and Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, first presented in 1990, is the endowed successor to the Associationís Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics, first presented in 1962. This award is intended to be the most prestigious award for service offered by the Association. It honors distinguished contributions to mathematics and mathematical education - in one particular aspect or many, and in a short period or over a career. The initial endowment was contributed by husband and wife Dr. Charles Y. Hu and Yueh-Gin Gung. It is worth noting that Dr. Hu and Yueh-Gin Gung were not mathematicians, but rather a professor of geography at the University of Maryland and a librarian at the University of Chicago, respectively. They contributed generously to our discipline because, as they wrote, "We always have high regard and great respect for the intellectual agility and high quality of mind of mathematicians and consider mathematics as the most vital field of study in the technological age we are living in."
Lee Lorch's mathematical research has been in the areas of analysis, differential equations, and special functions. His teaching positions have included the City College of New York, Pennsylvania State University, Fisk University, Philander Smith College, the University of Alberta, Howard University, Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) and Aarhus University. He was at York from 1968 until retirement in 1985 and remains active in the mathematical community.
His scholarship has been recognized by election to Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada; appointment to committees of the Research Council of Canada; election to the Councils of the American Mathematical Society, the Canadian Mathematical Society, and the Royal Society of Canada; and by many invitations to lecture.
Lee Lorch is a remarkable teacher of mathematics and an inspiration to his students. Among those he guided were Etta Falconer, Gloria Hewitt, Vivienne Malone Mayes, and Charles Costley. He has recruited into graduate work and mathematical careers many students who would not have otherwise considered such a path. [See V. Mayes, American Mathematical Monthly, 1976, pp708-711; and P. Kenschaft, Change Is Possible, American Mathematical Society, 2005.]
During the early organization of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Lee gave sage advice about the value of inclusiveness in supporting effective advocacy. He is responsible for the appearance of the preposition "for" in place of the initially proposed "of" in the name of the AWM.
Throughout his career he has been a vocal advocate and energetic worker for human rights and educational opportunities. His interventions, especially in the 1950's, led to changes in the policies and practices of the AMS and the MAA that ensured that all mathematicians could participate in the official events of these organizations. While his actions have not solved all the problems he addressed, surely his energy has contributed to much progress.
As an example, we cite events surrounding a meeting in 1951 held in Nashville. Lee Lorch, the chair of the mathematics department at Fisk University, and three Black colleagues, Evelyn Boyd (now Granville), Walter Brown, and H. M. Holloway came to the meeting and were able to attend the scientific sessions. However, the organizer for the closing banquet refused to honor the reservations of these four mathematicians. (Letters in Science, August 10, 1951, pp. 161-162 spell out the details). Lorch and his colleagues wrote to the governing bodies of the AMS and MAA seeking bylaws against discrimination. Bylaws were not changed, but non-discriminatory policies were established and have been strictly observed since then.
For his life-long contributions to mathematics, his continued dedication to inclusiveness, equity, and human rights for mathematicians, and especially his profound influence on the lives of minority and women mathematicians who have benefited from his efforts, the MAA presents this Yueh-Gin Gung and Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics to Lee Lorch.
Lee Lorch, FRSC, is Professor Emeritus at York University in Toronto. Born in New York, his undergraduate studies were at Cornell. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, mentored by Otto Szasz.
While in the U.S. army during the war, and shortly before going overseas, he married Grace Lonergan, a Boston school teacher. She was dismissed for committing matrimony and became the first Boston teacher to contest that policy, but lost. A plaque commemorating her pioneering struggle and celebrating her subsequent civil rights activities now adorns the entrance to a Boston public school. Their participation in the struggle against housing discrimination cost Lorch two jobs in quick succession. Moving south, their efforts to speed the end of segregation in public education, as mandated by the Supreme Court (1954), cost Lorch the last two posts he was able to obtain in the U.S. He was summoned before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and cited for "contempt" for refusing to say whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party. He was acquitted. Grace Lorch was called before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security, where she also refused to answer political questions. Years later, Lorch received honorary degrees from two of the institutions that had dismissed him. In 1959 the couple moved to Canada. Both have received awards for their civil rights contributions.
Response from Lee Lorch
While this award honors me, it gives me even greater satisfaction that, by making it, the MAA emphasizes its support for equity.
There are all too many proofs that this fight is far from over. One surrounds us here: Katrina and post-Katrina New Orleans. Why was New Orleans left so vulnerable? Why was flood control, so urgently and obviously needed set aside? Its low-lying areas, overwhelmingly African-American, seed-beds of world famous African-American music, are ruined, their residents scattered and disheartened, their communities in peril of dissolution.
Even the AMS home page tells us only of Tulane — not of the several afflicted HBCUs. Perhaps no one in these institutions has submitted a report. Maybe they do not feel really part of the mathematical community. Why not? What is being done about it?
"The struggle continues." Happily, this award is a sign of which side the MAA is on.
Thank you, thank you very much!
In 1991, the Mathematical Association of America instituted the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in order to honor college or university teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had influence beyond their own institutions. Deborah Tepper Haimo was President of the Association, 1991-1992.
Jennifer Quinn has a contagious enthusiasm that draws students to mathematics. The joy she takes in all things mathematical is reflected in her classes, her presentations, her publications, her videos and her on-line materials. Her class assignments often include nonstandard activities, such as creating time line entries for historic math events, or acting out scenes from the book Proofs and Refutations. One student created a children's story about prime numbers and another produced a video documentary about studentsí perceptions of math. A student who had her for six classes says," I hope to become a teacher after finishing my master's degree and I would be thrilled if I were able to come anywhere close to being as great a teacher as she is."
Jenny developed a variety of courses at Occidental College. Working with
members of the physics department and funded by an NSF grant, she helped
develop a combined yearlong course in calculus and mechanics. She also
developed a course on "Mathematics as a Liberal Art" which
included computer discussions, writing assignments, and other means to draw
technophobes into the course. Her upper-division course on graph theory had
students collect and attempt open problems in the field. This lead to a
joint publication with one of the undergraduates in the course. One project
that grew out of her History of Mathematics course was a mathematics game
show called "The Number Years." It was a huge hit at the winter
Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2000.
Jenny is invited to give talks on mathematics to wide and varied
audiences, from middle school students to senior citizens. In addition to
being the co-editor of Math Horizons, she has written a variety of
expository and research articles. Her MAA book, Proofs that Really
Count: the Art of Combinatorial Proof, co-authored with Arthur
Benjamin, won the 2006 Beckenbach Book Prize.
Her excellence has been recognized in other ways as well. In 2001, she received the Southern California MAA Distinguished Teaching Award. In fall 2005, she was the recipient of the Sterling Prize from Occidental College, awarded to only one professor at the College per year, based on professional achievement, excellence in teaching and service to the college.†
Jenny was also the on-camera talent for a series of videos that accompany the Tussy and Gustafson Elementary and Intermediate Algebra texts published by Brooks/Cole. To quote from one of her producers, "She always seems to be sharing a wonderfully complex secret, taking what might seem repetitive and monotonous on the page and transforming it into something meaningful, even fascinating. She has an uncanny ability to connect with the people she works with and teaches. And that connection is somehow able to lift people to a higher level, and show them a series of wonderful new things." †
We are delighted to award Jennifer Quinn the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
Jennifer Quinn earned her B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. from Williams College, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin, respectively. For the past thirteen years, she has been affiliated with Occidental College, rising to the rank of full professor and serving as department chair. Jenny is currently the Executive Director of the Association for Women in Mathematics and continues her work as co-Editor of Math Horizons. She lives in Tacoma, Washington where she occasionally teaches at the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University. Someday, she hopes to return to a permanent academic position—but for now she remains open to all possibilities and is eager to continue on lifeís journey.
Response from Jennifer Quinn
What an incredible distinction! The impact of past and current Haimo winners is extremely impressive and I am honored to be included in their celebrated circle.
As mathematicians, we ponder and appreciate the beauty of our chosen subject. For me, teaching is my opportunity to reveal that beauty to others. It is a privilege and my students are a constant source of energy, inspiration, and action.
I have been fortunate in my life and career having had encouraging teachers, an amazing thesis advisor, supportive colleagues, harmonious co-authors, a loving family, and dynamic students. Iíd like to thank each and every one of you. You know who you are.
Michael Starbirdís goal is to help his students unleash the creativity within them. He doesn't just teach them mathematics. He teaches them how to discover and appreciate mathematics for themselves. †
Mike has had an impact on dramatic numbers of students. In addition to the thousands of students he has taught at the University of Texas over his 32 years there, his teaching videos, which appear in the Great Courses series offered by the Teaching Company, have reached out to countless others. His expository work and his workshops have touched many more students either directly or through the teachers who have learned from him. †
Mike's teaching excellence is well documented by about a dozen teaching awards, including the Excellence Award from the Eyes of Texas (twice), the Dad's Association Centennial Teaching Fellowship, the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award, the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, the Chad Oliver Plan II Teaching Award, the Friar Society Centennial Teaching Fellowship, awarded to only one of the 2,700 faculty at the University of Texas per year, and the Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship, awarded to ten faculty in any field per year at any college or university in the state of Texas.
Students love his courses: "I am sad that it is over. This has been the best math course I've taken since I have been here." "Dr. Starbird is uber-awesome." "Dr. Starbird single handedly reversed my previous hatred for all things math related. I would literally leave class smiling and excited to tell others the interesting math facts I learned." †
Mike is also in great demand as a speaker and workshop leader. He served as associate dean at the University of Texas in the 1990ís. Since 2000 he has delivered over 60 invited addresses in a wide spectrum of venues. He has presented workshops for a variety of programs, including the MAA, Project NExT, PREP, PMET, MER and the NSF Chautauqua program. †
With Edward Burger, he co-authored the "Math for Non-Majors" textbook The Heart of Mathematics, An Invitation to Effective Thinking. Appearing in 2000, this book allows math phobic students to discover the beauty and fun of mathematics. It was awarded the Robert W. Hamilton Book Award in 2002, and it has been adopted at over 200 colleges and universities. †
The expository mathematics book Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas, also co-authored with Edward Burger, appeared in 2005, and has already received a tremendous amount of attention. As Ian Stewart said, it is "informative, intelligent, and refreshingly irreverent. A roller-coaster ride along the frontiers of today's mathematics." †
Dr. Starbird is creative, articulate, indefatigable, and an eloquent communicator and promoter of mathematics. We are pleased to present him with the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
Michael Starbird is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the universityís Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has received more than a dozen teaching awards including several that are awarded to only one professor annually and including the Texas statewide Piper Professorship. In 1989, Starbird was the Recreational Sports Super Racquets Champion.
Starbird wrote, with co-author Edward B. Burger, the award-winning textbook The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking and, for the public, Coincidences, Chaos, and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas. His Teaching Company video courses in calculus, statistics, and probability annually reach thousands of people in the general public. He has given dozens of presentations to students and the public plus more than 20 MAA and NSF minicourses and workshops for teachers. He served as a Member-at-large of the AMS Council, on the MAAís Committee on the Undergraduate Program in Mathematics (CUPM), the AMSís Committee on Education, and the Mathematicians and Education Reform Board.
Response from Michael Starbird
I love to see people discover the joy of thinking. Mathematics is brimming with the potential for exciting people with intrigue and fascination. One of the great satisfactions in life for me has been to awaken curiosity and independent thinking in people. I love to bring an unsuspecting person to the very brink of the hill and watch as they clamber up and gasp in the awe of previously unimagined vistas. The mathematical way of thought opens doors. It liberates people to dare to think through challenges that they previously viewed as beyond their power. I love the challenge of bringing authentic understanding of significant ideas in mathematics to people who are not necessarily mathematically oriented. Those deep ideas inevitably have meaning beyond the math and make a real difference in real lives. I very much appreciate this award from the Mathematical Association of America, because it recognizes the work that I value most. Thank you.
Over the last 44 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Gilbert Strang has influenced tremendous numbers of students, both at MIT and around the world. His approaches to teaching linear algebra and mathematics for engineers have changed the way we all approach these subjects. †
In 1970, Gil began teaching the linear algebra course at MIT. He realized the subject was not simply for mathematics majors and so he included a variety of engineering applications. Students loved his lecturing style and appreciated the material he included. Enrollments steadily grew. In 1976, Gil published Linear Algebra and its Applications, his textbook based on that course. This book sparked a revolution in the way linear algebra was taught and has influenced a multitude of books that have come out since then. Rather than utilizing a theorem-proof format, the book was written in a conversational tone and included many practical applications. In 1993, he published a successor, Introduction to Linear Algebra. Every year since 1981, more than 300 students out of an MIT class of 1000 take his course. †
In the 1980's Gil began to think about how mathematics was taught to engineers. Recognizing the impact of computers, he believed that students would be better served by a deep understanding of the mathematical methods underlying numerical methods. In 1984, he introduced a new course on mathematical methods for engineers. Since then, enrollments for that course at MIT have grown from 40 a year to 100 a year. In 1986, he published Introduction to Applied Mathematics, a textbook for that course. MIT's Graduate Student Council recognized his work on that course with a teaching award in 2003. Additional texts that he has co-authored include An Analysis of the Finite Element Method and Wavelets and Filter Banks. †
In 2001, MIT began implementing a program of "Open Courseware" which made available course materials and lectures on-line for any students who wish to view them. There are now over 500 courses that have been made available in this way. From among these courses, Gil's linear algebra course ranks first among mathematics courses in popularity and 16th among all courses available. Calculus is the second most popular mathematics course followed by Gil's "Mathematical Methods for Engineers" and "Wavelets and Filter Banks" in the third and fourth slot.
In 1977, Gil received the MAA's Chauvenet Prize for an article that appeared in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society. In 2006, he was the recipient of the MAA Northeastern Section Teaching Award. In addition, Gil is a prolific researcher and has supervised 20 Ph.D. dissertations and five master's students. †
Gil has a deep love of mathematics, and a profound understanding of how mathematics is used in the sciences and engineering. He has applied these qualities to reshape the way we teach mathematics. For all he has done, we are pleased to award him the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics.
Gilbert Strang was an undergraduate at MIT and a Rhodes Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford. Since receiving his doctorate from the University of California Los Angeles, he has taught at MIT. He was chosen for the von Neumann Medal of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics, and the first Su Buchin Prize from the International Congress of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College.
After writing a monograph with George Fix on the finite element method, he has published six textbooks: Introduction to Linear Algebra, Linear Algebra and Its Applications, Introduction to Applied Mathematics, Calculus, Wavelets and Filter Banks with Truong Nguyen, and Linear Algebra, Geodesy, and GPS with Kai Borre.
Gilbert Strang served as president of SIAM during 1999 and 2000. He was chair of the U.S. National Committee on Mathematics for 2003-2004. His home page is math.mit.edu/~gs and his courses are on ocw.mit.edu.
Response from Gilbert Strang
We are so lucky to share the responsibility of teaching mathematics. Our society is a group of friends, helping each other and helping our students. We see new ways to teach, in class and even on the Internet. In my case the subject has been linear algebra — I felt we could do more.
We can show the importance of mathematics as well as its beauty, and for linear algebra that importance just keeps growing. I thank teachers everywhere, in all grades and all subjects, for encouraging students to think and to grow.
The Certificate of Meritorious Service is presented for service at the national level or for service to a Section of the Association. The first such awards were made in 1984. At each January meeting of the Association, honorees from several Sections are recognized.
Marilyn Repsher, Florida Section
The Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America is pleased to recognize Marilyn L. Repsher from Jacksonville University as a 2007 recipient of the MAA Certificate of Meritorious Service.
Dr. Repsher has a long and distinguished history of service to the Florida Section and to the national mathematical community. She served the section as governor from 2001-2004, as president from 1990-1992, as vice-president for programs from 1987-1989 and as vice-president for four-year colleges from 1980-1982. She received the sectionís Distinguished Service Award in 1998.
Dr. Repsher received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and her masterís degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. In 1978, Dr. Repsher was recognized as Jacksonville Universityís Professor of the Year. In 2001, she was recognized as Jacksonville Universityís Woman of the Year. In 1999, Dr. Repsher was named U.S. Professor of the Year (Masterís Universities and Colleges division) by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Dr. Repsher is a Carnegie Scholar in the 2000 cohort of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
For her exemplary performance, spanning a period of three decades, in service to her faculty colleagues throughout the state, the Florida Section is pleased that the MAA Certificate of Meritorious Service goes to Marilyn L. Repsher.
Response from Marilyn Repsher
There are many people in the Florida Section and around the country who have brought me to this point. I am proud to be a member of our outstanding Florida Section. The meetings and activities of the Section have reached mathematics faculty in public and private colleges, two- and four-year institutions, and secondary schools throughout the state. On the national level, MAA publications and meetings have enriched my work and energized my teaching and research. I am grateful too for the support and inspiration from my colleagues and students at Jacksonville University. Thank you for this honor.
Sister Jo Ann Fellin, Kansas Section
Sister Jo Ann Fellin, OSB, received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1970. She then became an assistant professor at Mount Saint Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas, which merged the next year with Benedictine College. She spent the rest of her career at Benedictine, with sabbaticals at Illinois and Notre Dame, and received Benedictine's Distinguished Educator Award in 1998. She worked throughout her career to support young mathematicians, especially women. She has given many talks to school groups and teachers, and worked with a variety of organizations, especially the MAA. She has made several presentations at sectional and national MAA meetings, served on numerous committees, hosted the Kansas section meeting twice, served a term as section governor, and is the only person in the last 50 years to serve two terms as section chairperson. She was the unanimous choice for the Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Kansas Section.
Response from Sister Jo Ann Fellin
Gratitude fills my heart as I accept this Certificate of Meritorious Service from the Mathematical Association of America. I am grateful first to my Kansas Section colleagues not only for nominating me but more so for their friendship over the years. Teaching in a small undergraduate institution makes broad association with other mathematicians important and rewarding. I am grateful to the national organization for the wonderful opportunities it has provided me. Sharing with colleagues across the nation and participating in various mini-courses has benefited me greatly as a person and in my teaching. I especially appreciate the many women I have met and worked with while coordinating the Kansas City Region of WAM (Women and Mathematics). Finally, I am grateful to Benedictine College for the support it provided me for professional development through attendance at MAA meetings. May the Mathematical Association of America continue its great work in promoting excellence in teaching and learning.
Jerrold W. Grossman, Michigan Section
The Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America is pleased to nominate Jerrold W. Grossman, Professor of Mathematics, Oakland University, for the 2006 Certificate of Meritorious Service given by the MAA. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions he has made over the years both to our section and to the larger mathematical community.
Jerry has a long history of service to the Michigan Section. He was a member of the Michigan Mathematics Prize Competition Exam Committee and the Michigan MAA Teaching Excellence Award Committee (after receiving the Sectionís 1994 Teaching Excellence Award), director of the High School Visiting Lecture Program, newsletter editor, and section governor. As governor, Jerry was responsible for revising our section bylaws.
Jerry has also served the larger mathematics community through his work on the MAA American Mathematical Monthly problems editorial panel, on the Dolciani series editorial board, as an AP Calculus Exam reader, as a problems consultant to the AMC and AIME national high school mathematics competitions, and as a member of the NCTM's Educational Materials Committee. Jerry also created and maintains the website for The Erdös Number Project.
At Oakland University, Jerry has served in many roles, including as an elected member of the University Senate, College of Arts and Sciences Assembly, College Executive Committee, Senate Steering Committee, Faculty Re-employment and Promotion Committee, College of Art and Sciences Committee on Appointment and Promotion, Secondary Education Council and its Steering Committee. Jerry has been an associate chair and coordinator of undergraduate programs for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. In addition to being active in the AAUP at the university level, Jerry has also served at the state level as a member of Committee W (on the status of women in the profession).
Response from Jerrold Grossman
With so many hard-working members leading and serving the Michigan Section of the MAA, I am surprised, delighted, and gratified to be singled out for this award. The best thing about participating in MAA activities is the opportunity to interact with dedicated, dynamic, innovative and talented colleagues in so many different arenas, such as contests with their intriguing problems, discussions of teaching at all levels, MAA's wonderful books and journals, and meeting sessions devoted to mathematics itself. Little did I realize when I joined the organization over 40 years ago as a high school student that it would bring so much pleasure and serve as an anchor for my professional career. Thank you for this honor.
Donna Beers, Northeastern Section
Donna Beers has long been generous and gracious in offering her time, talents and infectious enthusiasm to The Mathematical Association of America through both the Northeastern Section and the national organization. She is well known and highly regarded by mathematicians and mathematics educators throughout the broader mathematics community. It is no surprise to many that the MAA would seize this opportunity to recognize and honor Donna through this MAA Certificate for Meritorious Service.
Her contributions to our association are numerous and varied. Donna served as section vice chairperson from 1992-1993, chairperson from 1993-1995, and past chairperson from 1995-1997. She served as section governor from 2000-2003. Throughout the period of her leadership the section continued to prosper by offering varied and interesting programs that were well received by the membership. Donna has often been an invited speaker at section meetings, from the 1970s to the present, where she offered her insights into a variety of mathematical and educational topics. In 2003 she gave the invited presentation for students at the MAA-AMS Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore. In addition, she has given many contributed papers at both section and national meetings. Further, she has served on and chaired numerous NES/MAA committees, including several program committees for section meetings. She is a current or former member of the MAA editorial boards of the American Mathematical Monthly, Mathematics Magazine, the Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, and Focus/MAA Online. She served on the steering committee of the MAA PREP Workshop, Leading the Academic Department: A Workshop for Chairs of a Mathematical Sciences Department. At present, she serves on the MAA Investment Committee, the Chauvenet Prize Committee, and the editorial board of the Anneli Lax New Mathematical Library.
Donna is professor and past chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Simmons College, where she has been since 1986. Her scholarly interests include preparation of teachers, undergraduate research, and abelian groups. She served as director of the Honors Program, and created a very successful interdisciplinary Honors seminar on patterns. She also served as director and principal investigator of the Verizon Scholars Program, a mentoring and outreach program with TechBoston, a department of the Boston Public Schools, for high school women interested in Web design and programming. Donna initiated the Simmons College Student Chapter of the MAA. Members of the Simmons Chapter have delivered papers at the annual Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Conference as well as regional and national meetings of the MAA. She has just completed a term as Visiting Mathematician at the MAA.
For her hard work and continuing commitment to the advancement of mathematics, the MAA and the Northeastern Section are pleased to award Donna Beers this Certificate for Meritorious Service.
Response from Donna Beers
I am very honored to receive this award. I sincerely thank my colleagues in the Northeastern Section for their steadfast support, encouragement, and friendship. I deeply appreciate the Mathematical Association of America whose programs, publications, and people have enriched my life and contributed enormously to my growth and development as a professional. Thank you so much.
Janet Heine Barnett, Rocky Mountain Section
Janet Heine Barnett completed her Ph.D. in Mathematics in 1990 at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and subsequently joined the Department of Mathematics at Colorado State University, Pueblo. She became a member of the Rocky Mountain Section of the MAA as a graduate student in 1988, and since then has been creative, diligent, and tireless in her work to fulfill the sectionís mission to "promote excellence in mathematics education, especially at the collegiate level." In her many years of service, Janet has been the heart of our section. She has been an excellent role model, getting people involved in section activities and ensuring that our section flourished and will continue to do so.
Janet served the section as chair for two years, secretary/treasurer for six years, liaison coordinator for eight years, CCTM representative for two years, newsletter editor for four years, book sales coordinator for seven years, and program chair for the 1995 meeting and our upcoming 2007 meeting. She also organized various sessions at our section meetings and at MathFest. Nationally, she was the Rocky Mountain governor for three years, was a member of the ad hoc Committee on Advising for two years and of the Committee on Department Liaisons Program for five years, and is currently a member of the Committee on Minicourses.
It is with great pleasure and gratitude that the MAA awards Janet Heine Barnett the Certificate of Meritorious Service.
Response from Janet Heine Barnett
Early in my professional career, it was my good fortune to be welcomed into the MAA Rocky Mountain Section by the inspiring individuals who make our section such a vibrant organization. Since then, my time as a section member and officer has given me many wonderful opportunities for growth, laughter, friendship and learning. I thank the section and its membership not only for these opportunities, but for the honor of this Certificate of Meritorious Service and the faith in my abilities that it represents.
Stuart Anderson, Texas Section
Stuart Anderson, professor at Texas A&M University - Commerce, has served the Texas Section for nine years as the secretary-treasurer. This position involves enough for two people, but Stuart always was ready and prepared. During these years he was indeed the backbone of the section.
Dr. Andersonís commitment to service throughout the mathematical community is outstanding. He often gives talks on mathematical subjects to area high schools. In addition, many faculty and others on campus and in the broader community are very familiar with Dr. Andersonís speaking prowess Ė he is often sought after for speaking engagements, both on and off campus. His deadpan demeanor and dry wit are appreciated by all who are fortunate to hear him speak. He has been the keynote speaker for a meeting of the Texas Project NExT meeting in November 2002 (on the "Mathematical Mark Twain"), and gave professional development presentations to well over 50 Garland ISD math teachers in both 2001 and 2000. While it may well be perceived that he is spontaneously humorous, he prepares those talks and speeches with much care, and his classroom preparation is just as thoughtful, meticulous, and methodical, day-in day-out: class after class, year after year.
Stuart is always willing to jump in when needed. He regularly attended section officers meetings at the January meeting, as well as MathFest. It is an honor to award Dr. Stuart Anderson of the Texas Section the MAA Meritorious Service Award.
Response from Stuart Anderson
When a person becomes involved in MAA work, there is no intent of ever receiving a Certificate of Meritorious Service. Likely, I never heard of the award until becoming fairly involved in the organization. That early ignorance helped to sweeten the surprise and did nothing to harm the sincere gratitude I feel at this point. Realizing the impressive contributions of previous recipients of this citation is a powerful dose of humility. My association with the MAA has involved work that was worthwhile and invigorating, and done with such pleasant and talented people. It has always been a joy. To receive an award for having so much fun makes me feel quite lucky. So with all my emotions of surprise, gratitude, humility and good fortune, I sincerely thank my colleagues from the Texas Section and all the good people of the MAA for this high honor.
The Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding mathematical research by undergraduate students. It was endowed by Mrs. Frank Morgan of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Daniel Kane is majoring in both mathematics and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and expects to receive his bachelorís degree in June 2007. At this early stage of his mathematical career, Daniel has already established a research record that would be the envy of many professional mathematicians. Indeed, he has authored or co-authored ten articles that have appeared or will soon appear (have been accepted) in research journals including the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, The Ramanujan Journal, the Journal of Number Theory, Foundations of Computer Science, and Integers: Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory. In addition, he has six other research papers that have been submitted or are in preparation for a total of sixteen research papers! The specifics of his research are too long to detail, but we mention that it has been in fields as diverse as number theory, computer science, ergodic theory, combinatorics, computational geometry and game theory.
Mr. Kaneís mathematical talent is captured well in some of the comments/summaries contained in the letters supporting his nomination for the prize:
In addition to all of his mathematical research, Daniel is also a three-time Putnam Fellow and two-time International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) Gold Medalist.
Daniel Kane was born in Madison, Wisconsin to professors of mathematics and of biochemistry. His schooling began at Wingra, a private school unusual in its noncompetitive policies and open classrooms. When it became clear (in about third grade) that he was ready for high school math, Daniel was allowed to do more advanced math assigned by his parents. Due to this head start, he was ready to begin taking University classes at the beginning of high school. After graduating, Daniel went to MIT to study mathematics and physics.
Daniel first learned about mathematical problem solving through the University of Wisconsinís Van Vleck Talent search. This training helped immensely when he took the USAMO in 7th grade, qualifying for the MOP, which he continued to attend for the duration of high school, earning two IMO gold medals.
Daniel became interested in research near the end of high school, when he did work on modular forms under the supervision of Ken Ono. In college his opportunities for research expanded greatly, including the summer programs at Williams College and University of Minnesota-Duluth, class projects and competitions.
Response from Daniel Kane
In receiving this award I would like to extend my thanks to all of those that helped make it possible. Most importantly, I would like to thank my parents for giving me such a good environment to grow up in and in particular my dad for teaching me and helping me to develop my love of mathematics. Thanks are also due to those that helped me get started learning mathematical problem solving skills such as Marty Isaacs, who ran the Van Vleck Talent Search, and Titu Andreescu and the other MOP instructors. I would like to thank those that helped supervise parts of my research, namely, Ken Ono, Joe Gallian, Cesar Silva, and Erik Demaine. Lastly, I would like to thank my many teachers over the years who have provided me with the knowledge base to be able to conduct interesting research in so many areas.