Award: Lester R. Ford
Year of Award: 2009
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 115, no. 2, February 2008, pp. 97–113.
Summary: Professor Balinski argues that the gerrymandering of legislative districts can be eliminated by altering the method in which we choose the congressional delegation of each state. With clear and compelling examples combined with a touch of political and legal history, he shows how the problem of gerrymandering has developed over time and how it contributes to the political stasis that we observe in the United States House of Representatives.
About the Author: Michel Balinski studied mathematics at Williams and Princeton, and economics at MIT. Having held positions at Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate Center of CUNY, Yale, and SUNY Stony Brook, he has been Directeur de recherche de classe exceptionnelle at the CNRS and the École Polytechnique (Paris) since 1982, where he is now emeritus. After working in optimization and founding the journal Mathematical Programming, his interests turned to electoral systems.