Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics

Good history of mathematics is good research and writing. The various award committees of the Mathematical Association of America have frequently rewarded that good writing. The lists on the following pages highlight MAA award-winning articles and books on the history of mathematics. Most are hyperlinked to freely-available reprints. Enjoy perusing this high-quality, highly-readable scholarship!

To see all previous winners, visit the full list of MAA Awards. If you notice an omission in this article, please contact the editors.

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Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Allendoerfer Award

Carl B. Allendoerfer Awards

For expository articles published in Mathematics Magazine.

2019

William Dunham
The Early (and Peculiar) History of the Möbius Function
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 91, no. 2, March 2018, pp. 83–91.

Jordan Bell and Viktor Blåsjö
Pietro Mengoli’s 1650 Proof that the Harmonic Series Diverges
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 91, no. 5, December 2018, pp. 341–347.

2013

Khristo N. Boyadzhiev
Close Encounters with the Stirling Numbers of the Second Kind
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 85, no. 4, October 2012, pp. 252–266.

Adrian Rice and Ezra (Bud) Brown
Why Ellipses Are Not Elliptic Curves
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 85, no. 3, June 2012, pp. 163–176.

2010

Ezra (Bud) Brown and Keith Mellinger
Kirkman's Schoolgirls Wearing Hats and Walking Through Fields of Numbers
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 82, no. 1, February 2009, pp. 3–15.

2009

Jeff Suzuki
A Brief History of Impossibility
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 81, no. 1, February 2008, pp. 27–38.

2008

Chris Christensen
Polish Mathematicians Finding Patterns in Enigma Messages
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 80, no. 4 (2007), pp. 247–273.

2007

Saul Stahl
The Evolution of the Normal Distribution
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 79, no. 2 (2006), pp. 96–113.

2006

Jeff Suzuki
The Lost Calculus (1637–1670): Tangency and Optimization without Limits
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 78, no. 5 (2005), pp. 339–353.

2002

Mark McKinzie and Curtis Tuckey
Higher Trigonometry, Hyperreal Numbers, and Euler's Analysis of Infinities
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 74, no. 5 (2001), pp. 339–368.

2000

Donald Teets and Karen Whitehead
The Discovery of Ceres: How Gauss Became Famous
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 72, no. 2 (1999), pp. 83–91.

1996

Judith Grabiner
Descartes and Problem-Solving
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 68, no. 2 (1995), pp. 83–97.

1995

Lee Badger
Lazzarini's Lucky Approximation of π
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 67, no. 2 (1994), pp. 83–91.

1992

Israel Kleiner
Rigor and Proof in Mathematics: A Historical Perspective
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 64, no. 5 (1991), pp. 291–314.

1991

Ranjan Roy
The Discovery of the Series Formula for π by Leibniz, Gregory, and Nilakantha
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 63, no. 5 (1990), pp. 291–306.

1990

Thomas Archibald
Connectivity and Smoke-Rings: Green's Second Identity in Its First Fifty Years
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 62, no. 4 (1989), pp. 219–232.

1989

Judith V. Grabiner
The Centrality of Mathematics in the History of Western Thought
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 61, no. 4 (1988), pp. 220–230.

1987

Israel Kleiner
The Evolution of Group Theory: A Brief Survey
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 59, no. 4 (1986), pp. 195–215.

1986

Saul Stahl
The Other Map Coloring Theorem
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 58, no. 3 (1985), pp. 131–145.

1984

Judith V. Grabiner
The Changing Concept of Change: The Derivative from Fermat to Weierstrass
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 56, no. 4 (1983), pp. 195–206.

1980

Ernst Snapper
The Three Crises in Mathematics: Logicism, Intuitionism, and Formalism
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 52, no. 4 (1979), pp. 207–216.

1979

Bruce C. Berndt
Ramanujan's Notebooks
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 51, no. 3 (1978), pp. 147–164.

1978

David A. Smith
Human Population Growth: Stability or Explosion?
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 50, no. 4 (1977), pp. 186–197.

1977

Joseph A. Gallian
The Search for Finite Simple Groups
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 49, no. 4 (1976), pp. 163–180.

B.L. van der Waerden
Hamilton's Discovery of Quaternions
Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 49, no. 5 (1976), pp. 227–234.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Beckenbach Prize

Beckenbach Book Prizes

For the authors of distinguished, innovative books published by the MAA.

2015

Seth Braver
Lobachevski Illuminated
MAA Spectrum, 2011.

2014

Judith Grabiner
A Historian Looks Back: The Calculus as Algebra and Selected Writings
MAA Spectrum, 2010.

2008

William Dunham
Euler: The Master of Us All
Dolciani Mathematical Expositions, 1999.

2007

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.

1999

David M. Bressoud
Proofs and Confirmations, The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture
MAA Spectrum, 1999.

1996

Constance Reid
The Search for E.T. Bell, Also Known as John Taine
MAA Spectrum, 1993.

1989

Thomas M. Thompson
From Error-Correcting Codes through Sphere Packings to Simple Groups
Carus Mathematical Monographs, Number 21, 1984.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Chauvenet Prize

Chauvenet Prizes

For an outstanding expository article on a mathematical topic from any publisher.

2010

Brian J. McCartin
e: The Master of All
The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 28, no. 2, 2006, 10–21.

2009

Harold P. Boas
Reflections on the Arbelos
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 113, no. 3, 2006, 236–249.

2005

John Stillwell
The Story of the 120-Cell
Notices of the AMS, Vol. 48, no. 1, January 2001, pp. 17–24.

2003

Thomas C. Hales
Cannonballs and Honeycombs
Notices of the AMS, Vol. 47, no. 4, April 2000, pp. 440–449.

1999

Michael I. Rosen
Niels Hendrik Abel and Equations of the Fifth Degree
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 102, June–July 1995, pp. 495–505.

1997

Tom Hawkins
The Birth of Lie's Theory of Groups
Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 16, 1994, pp. 6–17.

1995

Donald G. Saari
A Visit to the Newtonian N-body Problem Via Elementary Complex Variables
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 97, February 1990, pp. 105–119.

1993

David H. Bailey, Jonathan M. Borwein and Peter B. Borwein
Ramanujan, Modular Equations, and Approximations to Pi, or, How to Compute One Billion Digits of Pi
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 96, March 1989, pp. 201–219.

1986

George Miel
Of Calculations Past and Present: The Archimedean Algorithm
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 90, January 1983, pp. 17–35.

1978

Shreeram S. Abhyankar
Historical Ramblings in Algebraic Geometry and Related Algebra
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 83, June–July 1976, pp. 409–448.

1975

M.D. Davis and Reuben Hersh
Hilbert's 10th Problem
Scientific American, Vol. 229, no. 5, 1973,  pp. 84–91.

1973

C.D. Olds
The Simple Continued Fraction Expansion of e
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 77, November 1970, pp. 968–974.

1963

Philip J. Davis
Leonhard Euler's Integral: An Historical Profile of the Gamma Function
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 66, December 1959, pp. 849–869.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Euler Book Prize

Euler Book Prizes

For the authors of outstanding books about mathematics from any publisher.

2017

Ian Stewart
In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations that Changed the World
Basic Books, New York, 2012.

2010

David S. Richeson
Euler’s Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology
Princeton University Press, 2008.

2009

Siobhan Roberts
King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, the Man Who Saved Geometry
Walker and Company, New York, 2006.

2008

Benjamin H. Yandell
The Honors Class. Hilbert's Problems and Their Solvers
AK Peters, Natick, MA, 2002.

2007

John Derbyshire
Prime Obsession: Bernhard Riemann and the Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
Joseph Henry Press (National Academies Press), 2003.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Evans Award

Trevor Evans Awards

For exceptional articles that are accessible to undergraduates and published in Math Horizons.

2009

Randy K. Schwartz
The Birth of the Meter
Math Horizons, September 2008, pp. 14–17, 31.

2008

William Dunham
Euler’s Amicable Numbers
Math Horizons, November 2007, pp. 5–7.

2007

Adrian Rice and Eve Torrence
Lewis Carroll's Condensation Method for Evaluating Determinants
Math Horizons, November 2006, pp. 12–15.

2006

Ronald Barnes and Linda Becerra
The Evolution of Mathematical Certainty
Math Horizons, September 2005, pp. 13–17.

2004

Douglas Dunham
A Tale Both Shocking and Hyperbolic
Math Horizons, April 2003, pp. 22–26.

Hugh McCague
A Mathematical Look at a Medieval Cathedral
Math Horizons, April 2003, pp. 11–15, 31.

2000

Peter Schumer
The Magician of Budapest
Math Horizons, April 1999, pp. 5–9.

1999

Ravi Vakil
The Youngest Tenured Professor in Harvard History
Math Horizons, September 1998, pp. 8–12.

1998

Tom M. Apostol
What Is the Most Surprising Result in Mathematics?
Math Horizons, February 1997, pp. 26–31.

1997

William Dunham
1996-—A Triple Anniversary
Math Horizons, September 1996, pp. 8–13.

1996

Joel Chan
As Easy as Pi
Math Horizons, Winter 1993, pp. 18–19.

Underwood Dudley
Why History?
Math Horizons, November 1994, pp. 10–11.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Halmos-Ford Award

Paul R. Halmos – Lester R. Ford Awards

For outstanding expository papers in The American Mathematical Monthly.

2019

Adrian Rice
Partnership, Partition, and Proof: The Path to the Hardy-Ramanujan Partition Formula
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 125, no. 1, January 2018, pp. 3–15.

Jonathan M. Borwein and Robert M. Corless
Gamma and Factorial in the Monthly
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 125, no. 5, May 2018, pp. 400–424.

2017

Deborah Kent and David Muraki
A Geometric Solution of a Cubic by Omar Khayyam ... in Which Colored Diagrams Are Used Instead of Letters for the Greater Ease of Learners
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 123, no. 2, February 2016, pp. 149–160.

2016

Manya Raman-Sundström
A Pedagogical History of Compactness
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 122, no. 7, August-September 2015, pp. 619–635.

2012

David A. Cox
Why Eisenstein Proved the Eisenstein Criterion and Why Schönemann Discovered It First
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 118, no. 1, January 2011, pp. 3–21.

2011

Marvin Jay Greenberg
Old and New Results in the Foundations of Elementary Plane Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometries
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 117, no. 3, March 2010, pp. 198–219.

James T. Smith
Definitions and Nondefinability in Geometry
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 117, no. 6, June 2010, pp. 475–489.

2010

Judith Grabiner
Why Did Lagrange 'Prove' the Parallel Postulate?
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 116, no. 1, January 2009, pp. 3–18.

Bob Palais, Richard Palais, and Stephen Rodi
A Disorienting Look at Euler's Theorem on the Axis of a Rotation
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 116, no. 10, December 2009, pp. 892–909.

2007

Harold P. Boas
Reflections on the Arbelos
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 113, March 2006, pp. 236–249.

2006

William Dunham
Touring the Calculus Gallery
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 112, January 2005, pp. 1–19.

Viktor Blåsjö
The Evolution of the Isoperimetric Problem
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 112, June-July 2005, pp. 526–566.

2005

Judith Grabiner
Newton, Maclaurin, and the Authority of Mathematics
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 111, December 2004, pp. 841–852.

2004

Ruediger Thiele
Hilbert’s Twenty-Fourth Problem
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 110,  January 2003, pp. 1–24.

2003

Warren P. Johnson
The Curious History of Faa du Bruno's Formula
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 109, 2002, pp. 217–234.

Eleanor Robson
Words and Pictures: New Light on Plimpton 322
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 109, 2002, pp. 105–120.

2002

David Lindsay Roberts
Moore's Early Twentieth-Century Program for Reform in Mathematics Education
The American Mathematical Monthly,Vol. 108, October 2001, pp. 689–696.

1998

Judith V. Grabiner
Was Newton's calculus a dead end? The continental influence of Maclaurin's Treatise of Fluxions
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 104, May 1997, pp. 393–410.

Bruce Pourciau
Reading the Masters: Newton and the birth of celestial mechanics
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 104, January 1997, pp. 1–19.

1995

Robert Gray
Georg Cantor and transcendental numbers
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 101, November 1994, pp. 819–832.

I. Kleiner and N. Movshovitz-Hadar
The role of paradoxes in the evolution of mathematics
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 101, December 1994, pp. 963–974.

William C. Waterhouse
A counterexample for Germain
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 101, February 1994, pp. 140–150.

1994

Bruce C. Berndt and S. Bhargava
Ramanujan—for lowbrows
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 100, August–September 1993, pp. 644–656.

Edgar R. Lorch (Reuben Hersh, editor)
Szeged in 1934
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 100, March 1993, pp. 219–230.

1989

Gert Almkvist and Bruce Berndt
Gauss, Landen, Ramanujan, the arithmetic-geometric mean, ellipses, pi and the Ladies Diary
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 95, August–September 1988, pp. 585–608.

1987

Stuart S. Antman
Book Review of A Convergence of Lives, Sofia Kovalevskaia: scientist, writer, revolutionary, by A. Hibner Koblitz
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 93, February 1986, pp. 139–144.

Jacob Korevaar
Bieberbach's conjecture and its proof by Louis de Branges
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 93, August–September 1986, pp. 505–514.

1984

Judith Grabiner
Who gave you the epsilon? Cauchy and the origins of rigorous calculus
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 90, March 1983, pp. 185–194.

1983

Tony Rothman
Genius and Biographers: The Fictionalization of Evariste Galois
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 89, February 1982, pp. 84–106.

1981

R. Creighton Buck
Sherlock Holmes in Babylon
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 87, May 1980, pp. 335–345.

1980

Desmond Fearnley-Sander
Hermann Grassmann and the creation of linear algebra
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol 86, December 1979, pp. 809–817.

1977

Shreeram Abhyankar
Historical ramblings in algebraic geometry and related algebra
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 83, June–July 1976, pp. 409–448.

William P. Ziemer, William H. Wheeler, S.H. Moolgavkar, Paul R. Halmos, John H. Ewing and William H. Gustafson
American mathematics from 1940 to the day before yesterday
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 83, August–September 1976, pp. 503–516.

1975

Raymond Ayoub
Euler and the zeta function
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 81, December 1974, pp. 1067–1086.

1974

Lynn A. Steen
Highlights in the history of spectral theory
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 80, April 1973, pp. 359–381.

1973

Jean A. Dieudonné
The historical development of algebraic geometry
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 79, October 1972, pp. 827–866.

Thomas L. Saaty
Thirteen colorful variations on Guthrie's four-color conjecture
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 79, January 1972, pp. 2–43.

R. L. Wilder
History in the mathematics curriculum: Its status, equality, and function
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 79, May 1972, pp. 479–495.

1971

Jean A. Dieudonné
The work of Nicholas Bourbaki
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 77, February 1970, pp. 134–145.

1970

Henry L. Alder
Partition identities—from Euler to the present
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 76, September 1969, pp. 733–746.

William A. Coppel
J.B. Fourier—on the occasion of his two hundredth birthday
The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 76, May 1969, pp. 468–483.

Index of Award-Winning Articles on History of Mathematics – The Pólya Award

George Pólya Awards

For articles of expository excellence published in The College Mathematics Journal.

2019

Peter McGrath
Newton’s Shell Theorem via Archimedes’ Hat Box and Single Variable Calculus
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 49, no. 2, March 2018, pp. 109–113.

2018

Ben Blum-Smith and Samuel Coskey
Fundamental Theorem on Symmetric Polynomials: History’s First Whiff of Galois Theory
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 48, no. 1, January 2017, pp. 18–29.

2017

Viktor Blåsjö
How to Find the Logarithm of Any Number Using Nothing But a Piece of String
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 47, no. 2, March 2016, pp. 95–100.

2014

Adam E. Parker
Who Solved the Bernoulli Differential Equation and How Did They Do It?
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 44, no. 2, March 2013, pp. 89–97.

2011

John Martin
The Helen of Geometry
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 41, no. 1, January 2010, pp. 17–27.

2006

Ezra (Bud) Brown
Phoebe Floats!
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 36, no. 2, March 2005, pp. 114–122.

2005

Brian Hopkins and Robin J. Wilson
The Truth About Königsberg
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 35, no. 3, May 2004, pp. 198–207.

2001

Ezra (Bud) Brown
Three Fermat Trails to Elliptic Curves
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 31, no. 3, May 2000, pp. 162–172.

2000

Ezra (Bud) Brown
Square Roots From 1; 24, 51, 10 to Dan Shanks
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 30, no. 2, March 1999, pp. 82–95.

1997

Chris Christensen and Shreeram S. Abhyankar
Newton’s Method for Resolving Affected Equations
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 27, no. 5, November 1996), pp. 330–340.

1995

Anthony P. Ferzola
Euler and Differentials
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 25, no. 2, March 1994, pp. 102–111.

1992

Howard Eves
Two Surprising Theorems on Cavalieri Congruence
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 22, no. 2, March 1991, pp. 118–124.

William Dunham
Euler and the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 22, no. 4, September 1991, pp. 282–293.

1990

Israel Kleiner
Evolution of the Function Concept: A Brief Survey
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 20, 1989, pp. 282–300.

1988

V. Frederick Rickey
Isaac Newton: Man, Myth, and Mathematics
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 18, 1987, pp. 362–389.

1987

Constance Reid
The Autobiography of Julia Robinson
The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 17, 1986, pp. 2–21.