Prizes and Awards
Mathematical Association of America
January 2000
Joint Mathematics Meetings at Washington, DC

 Beckenbach Book Prize
David M. Bressoud Proofs and Confirmations, the Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix
Conjecture, Spectrum Series, 1999
 Chauvenet Prize
Don Zagier
"Newman's short proof of the prime number theorem," American
Mathematical Monthly 104 (1997), 705708
 Certificates of Meritorious Service
 Kathleen Taylor, Allegheny Section
 Elizabeth J. Teles, MDDCVA Section
 Sister M. Stephanie Sloyan, New Jersey Section
 Stanley Eliason, OklahomaArkansas Section
 Mario Martelli, Southern California Section

Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Awards for
Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics
In 1991, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) instituted Awards
for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics in order to
honor teachers who have been widely recognized as extraordinarily
successful and whose teaching effectiveness has been shown to have had
influence beyond their own institutions. In 1993, the MAA Board of
Governors renamed the award to honor Deborah and Franklin Tepper
Haimo. Deborah Tepper Haimo was President of the MAA in 199192. The award
winners will speak at a session on Friday, January 21, 2000, 3:30 p.m. to 5
p.m.
Arthur T. Benjamin
Citation
Professor Benjamin's lecture style, as described in hundreds of student
evaluations, is "entertaining," "enthusiastic," and highly
interactive. Students described his lectures as lucid and well organized,
and they clearly detect his personal love of mathematics and are inspired
by that. Professor Benjamin views teaching, in part, as a performing art,
and he builds on more than 20 years of experience performing as a magician
and a "lightning mental calculator." This experience helps him establish
immediately, a real presence in the classroom. His approach to teaching
inspires the students to learn, and to become active participants in the
process of discovering mathematics. For example, so that he may have their
active participation from the first day of class, before the term starts,
Professor Benjamin memorizes the names of his studentstobe from their
photographs. At the first lecture, he calls on students by name. It makes a
great impression on the class, and he immediately sets about taking
advantage of the atmosphere by drawing them into the world of
mathematics.
Professor Benjamin is also a very important mentor to young faculty
members in his department. They are clearly inspired by his dedication and
success to improve their own teaching, and to strive always for the highest
standards for student learning and appreciation of mathematics.
Professor Benjamin introduced weekly Putnam Exam preparation sessions
in 1990, and coached the Putnam team from 1990 to 1997. In 1990, they had a
handful of students take the Putnam Exam. In 1999, they had 60 students
take the exam, a remarkable achievement. The Harvey Mudd team ranked third
in the nation in 1991, and ninth in 1997.
An important part of Professor Benjamin's success has been in the
area of student research. He has supervised 16 senior theses since 1991,
and conducted numerous independent studies, many of which have evolved into
research publications.
To show that he really practices what he preaches, he has published two
books, Teach Your Child Math (1991) and Mathemagics: How to Look
Like a Genius Without Really Trying (1993), wherein he communicates his
belief (with practical methods) that everyone can learn to do mathematics
better and have fun at the same time.
Professor Benjamin's widespread recognition as a truly extraordinary
teacher, his passionate dedication to mathematics and its pedagogy,
and his nationwide reputation as one of the most successful ambassadors for
mathematics clearly qualify him superbly for a Deborah and Franklin Tepper
Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of
Mathematics. It is a great delight to be able to honor him by conferring
this Award upon him.
Biographical Note
Arthur Benjamin earned his B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Carnegie
Mellon University and his Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Johns
Hopkins, where he studied discrete optimization under Alan J. Goldman. In
1988, he was awarded the Nicholson Prize from the Operations Research
Society of America for the best student paper in Operations Research.
Since 1989, he has taught at Harvey Mudd College, where he is currently an
Associate Professor of Mathematics. He is the editor of the Spectrum book
series for the MAA, and an associate editor of Mathematics Magazine
and The UMAP Journal. Aside from his research interests in
combinatorics and game theory, he enjoys tournament backgammon, racing
calculators, and performing magic.
Response from Professor
Benjamin
I am deeply honored to receive this award. Teaching has always given me
great satisfaction, so it feels a little funny to be recognized for doing
something I consider so much fun. It has always been my dream to bring
mathematics to the masses, both inside and outside of the classroom. I have
learned that students respond best to mathematics that has realworld
applications or a beautiful theory they can understand. Thus I strive to
include in each lecture elements of "relevance and elegance."
I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many talented colleagues and
students. I am particularly grateful to Professors Mike Moody, Hank
Krieger, and Bob Borrelli for all of their support and encouragement, and
to my wife Deena for her love. Finally, I wish to thank Deborah Haimo for
all she has done to support mathematics nationally, locally, and one
student at a time.
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Donald S. Passman
Citation
Professor Passman is a mathematician of exceptional intelligence, keen
insight, extraordinary mathematical ability, and keen sensitivity, who has
a deep and natural understanding of the learning process in mathematics. He
brings all these attributes to bear on both his teaching and research. A
regular teacher of the calculus sequence (lectures of size approximately
200) he has influenced thousands of students who have become
mathematicians, scientists, engineers, or just educated citizens of the
state of Wisconsin.
Professor Passman's sense of humor, his compassion, his clear and
elegant exposition, his relaxed and seemingly effortless style make him an
extraordinary teacher of students at all levels.
Professor Passman is also an awesome mathematical researcher with more
than 140 research publications and five books. He has spoken all over the
world in conferences and colloquia. He is currently on the editorial board
of six journals. In 1995, he was named the Richard Brauer Professor of
Mathematics. In 1998, he won the Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award
given by the University of Wisconsin System.
Here is what a student in his Modern Algebra course has to say:
"This man is incredible. All other profs should have to sit in his
class so they could be at least half of the prof Passman is. He teaches
very difficult things using everyday language making the material more
approachable, more friendly. He has a great sense of humor, not a joke to
take everyone's focus off math for a bit, but tells mathematical jokes,
making math more fun, making it so I want to learn it more. I have had him
in past classes, he isn't an 'easy A' prof. You may have to work your butt
off to get an A from him, only he makes it so it's not work, but fun; the
man is a legend."
Professor Passman has also been involved in an area that not many
mathematicians venture into. For a long time he has taken an interest in
K12 mathematics education. He has run enrichment classes in elementary
school, he regularly coaches a Math Counts team in middle school, and he is
codirector of the Wisconsin Mathematics, Engineering and Science Talent
Search for high school students.
Clearly, Professor Passman is an extraordinary teacher of mathematics
whose qualities are evident at all levels of education thereby making him
an outstanding candidate for the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award
for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics. It is a
great pleasure to pay tribute to this wonderful teacher in this way.
Biographical Note
Donald S. Passman was born in New York City in 1940. He attended the
Bronx High School of Science, the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn
(B.S. in 1960), and Harvard University (M.A. in 1961 and Ph.D. in
1964). His thesis advisor was the renown Professor Richard Brauer. His
research interests include finite and infinite groups, noncommutative ring
theory, group rings and enveloping algebras of Lie algebras. In 1963, he
married Marjorie Mednick. They have two children Barbara Brownsword and
Jonathan Passman and three grandchildren Samuel and Rebecca Brownsword and
Abraham Passman. Passman was an Assistant Professor at UCLA (196466) and
Yale University (196669). He came to the University of WisconsinMadison
as an Associate Professor in 1969 and became a Full Professor in 1972. He
is also a frequent visitor at IDACRD Princeton and LaJolla.
In 1976, Professor Passman won the MAA's Lester R. Ford award for his
paper "What is a group ring?"
Response from Professor
Passman
This is a delightful and unexpected honor. I have been very fortunate in
my mathematical career. I love doing research, I love teaching, and I am a
member of a department that values both and is very strong in both. I have
many colleagues in Madison who are truly exceptional teachers, and I am
pleased to share this wonderful award with them. Thank you.
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Gary W. Towsley
Citation
The hallmarks that set Professor Towsley apart from other excellent
teachers are versatility, creativity across many disciplines, and personal
qualities of integrity, helpfulness, and caring. His enjoyment of
mathematics, excitement about teaching, commitment to learning, and genuine
concern endears him to students. His classes are the first to fill and are
often oversubscribed, and class evaluations of his teaching for more than
23 years places him at the pinnacle of our profession year after year.
He practices what he preaches: high standards that stretch, challenge,
and motivate; hard work, perseverance, and diligence; doing mathematics;
writing mathematics; refining ones' understanding. He does this by
collecting and evaluating homeworklots of itall corrected by him
carefully and thoughtfully.
Over the years, he has taught 24 different undergraduate courses and
five graduate courses: geometry, real and complex analysis, number theory,
abstract and linear algebra, probability and statistics, numerical
analysis, topology. The department offers it, and he has taught it to rave
reviews from his students.
Additionally he is multidisciplined in expertise and has cotaught
advanced courses for physics majors, a medieval studies course for English
majors (three times), History and Philosophy of Science as an
interdisciplinary offering, and "Roots of 20th Century Science" for the
college honors program. He is indeed a "Renaissance" scholar who through
writing and creative teaching unifies disciplines while developing
diversified areas of thought. He is selfless with his time (10 directed
studies in the past three years), talents, and knowledge, and has been
instrumental in encouraging students to choose mathematics as a major
(department's present size: 230 majors). He has mentored several students
who have gone on to do graduate work in mathematics or a related
discipline.
His outstanding teaching has been recognized with the Chancellor's
Excellence in Teaching Award in 1980, as the College's first Lockhart
Professor of Mathematics in 1994, and with promotion to Distinguished
Teaching Professor, the highest academic rank in the SUNY system, in
1997. It is, therefore, most fitting that this exceptional teacher receives
the Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College
Teaching of Mathematics.
Biographical Note
Professor Towsley received a B.S. in Mathematics from Case Institute of
Technology (1968) and an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester
(1971 and 1975, respectively). At Rochester, he worked on compact Riemann
and Klein surfaces under the direction of Professor Norman Alling. He has
taught at SUNY Geneseo since 1974, being named the first Lockhart Professor
of Mathematics in 1994 and Distinguished Teaching Professor in 1997.
Response from Professor
Towsley
I am deeply appreciative of the Haimo Teaching Award. There are too many
teachers I have learned the craft from to mention them by name but I
treasure the examples of passion for mathematics, creativity in exposition,
and sincere concern for students that I have witnessed over the last forty
years. I would also like to thank SUNY Geneseo and its mathematics
department for allowing me the freedom to experiment with a wide range of
courses both inside and outside the department.
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Beckenbach Book Prize
The Beckenbach Book Prize, established in 1986, is the successor to the
MAA Book Prize. It is named for the late Edwin Beckenbach, a longtime
leader in the publications program of the Association and a wellknown
professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los
Angeles. The prize is awarded for distinguished, innovative books published
by the Association.
David M. Bressoud
Proofs and Confirmations, the Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix
Conjecture, Spectrum Series, 1999
Citation
The Beckenbach Prize Committee enthusiastically recommends Proofs and
Confirmations, the Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix
Conjecture by David Bressoud, for the prize. This book has several
outstanding features. First and foremost, it carefully presents a
significant chapter of mathematics. Moreover, it demonstrates how
mathematics is actually created. It brings out the interplay among
several seemingly unrelated branches, and also discusses unsolved problems.
The reader is engaged in a number of ways. There are many examples,
and an abundant supply of exercises at all levels of difficulty
(including computer exercises). The author traces the history in
detail, with many illustrations and photographs. There is even a
contribution to the philosophy of mathematics, namely the discussion of the
role of proof. All in all, Bressoud's book is a model of how a mathematics
book should be written.
Biographical Note
David M. Bressoud teaches and thrives at Macalester College, St. Paul,
MN. He was an undergraduate at Swarthmore, a Peace Corps Volunteer in
Antigua, West Indies, received his Ph.D. from Temple University, and taught
at the Pennsylvania State University before moving to Macalester. He has
held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of
Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, and University of Strasbourg. He
received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award in 1994. In addition to
Proofs and Confirmations, he has written Factorization and Primality
Testing; Second Year Calculus from Celestial Mechanics to Special
Relativity; and A Radical Approach to Real Analysis. In
addition, he has recently coauthored A Course in Computational Number
Theory.
Response from Professor
Bressoud
This is an incredible honor before which I am very humble. I treasure
many of the books that have won this prize. They have served as
inspirations for my own writing.
I tried to tell a story, the best mathematical story that I have
personally witnessed. I believe that it is important to tell these stories,
that it is through them that we most effectively communicate our
mathematical heritage to the next generation. I applaud the MAA for
encouraging the publication of such stories.
Finally, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank George Andrews and
Richard Askey, mentors who have shared with me their personal joy and
thrill of mathematics. Without their guidance and encouragement early in my
career, I doubt that this book would ever have been written.
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Certificates of Meritorious Service
The Certificates of Meritorious Service are presented for service to the
MAA 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 roughly six Sections are
recognized.
Kathleen Taylor, Allegheny Section
Citation
It is with great pleasure that the Allegheny Mountain Section of the MAA
nominates Kathy Taylor of Duquesne University for the Meritorious Service
Award. Over the past two decades, she has served in many elected
offices. She was our first Newsletter Editor (197884) and was responsible
for starting what is now our major source for Section news and
activities. She has been 2nd Vice President (198182), 1st Vice President
(198283), Section Chairperson (198587), and Section Governor
(199396). She has also served on many nominating committees. Generally,
when the Section needs someone to do something, Kathy is always willing to
step forward and do the task happily. She is one of our most able leaders
and one of our most active participants in Section activities.
We appreciate what Kathy has done for the Allegheny Mountain Section
and the MAA, and are proud to nominate her for the Meritorious Service
Award.
Response from Professor
Taylor
I am very pleased to be the latest recipient of the Meritorious Service
Award from the Allegheny Mountain Section of the MAA. Both the local
Section and the national organization are important resources for all
who are interested in every aspect of collegiate mathematics. It has
been an honor for me to work with other members of the Section and to serve
on the national Board of Governors. Thank you for this honor.
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Elizabeth J. Teles, MDDCVA Section
Citation
The MarylandDistrict of ColumbiaVirginia Section is proud to honor
Elizabeth J. Teles with its Certificate of Meritorious Service. She has
many years of outstanding service to both the Section and national MAA. As
Program Chair she arranged lively meetings of interest to a wide audience
of members. As Section Chair and, later, Governor, she led the Section with
great enthusiasm. Currently, she is Section Secretary, thereby continuing
her long tradition of service. Dr. Teles has been equally involved at the
national level. She was member and chair of the Committee on TwoYear
Colleges and the Committee on Sessions of Contributed Papers. She was
for many years the Software Reviews Editor for the College Mathematics
Journal. Other committee memberships include the Committee on Faculty
Development, the Committee on Computers in Mathematics Education, and the
Advisory Board for the Interactive Mathematics Text Project. She has
organized many contributed paper sessions and panel discussions at national
meetings. An awardwinning teacher at Montgomery College for more than 20
years, Dr. Teles continues her leadership in collegiate mathematics
education as Program Director in the Division of Undergraduate Education at
the National Science Foundation.
Response from Elizabeth Teles
Thank you
to my friends and colleagues in the MarylandDCVirginia Section of
the MAA for this special honor. The Section and the national MAA
organization have served a very important role in my career as a
mathematician, but as importantly I have formed personal friendships
over the years with MAA members. I am very appreciative to the
Section for this recognition and look forward to many more years of
professional growth and friend ship.
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Sister M. Stephanie Sloyan, New Jersey
Section
Citation
The New Jersey Section of the Mathematical Association of America has
selected Sister M. Stephanie Sloyan, R.S.M., Professor Emerita of
Mathematics, Georgian Court College, Lakewood, NJ, as the recipient
of the MAA Certificate of Meritorious Service in recognition of her many
years of leadership and dedication.
A familiar face at national and Section meetings, Sr. Stephanie Sloyan
is well known for her commitment to the goals of the MAA. A member of the
MAA since 1952, and one of the founders of the New Jersey Section (1956),
she has served the MAA in many capacities: Section Vice Chair for
Speakers; ChairElect, Chair (198587), and Past of the Chair of the
Section; Governor of the Section (198891); and a member of the MAA
Committee on Sections and numerous NJ Section committees. In 1991, she
became the first recipient of the MAANJ Section Distinguished Teaching
Award and has since served as Chair of the Selection Committee for this
award.
Sr. Stephanie has been a role model for women who aspire to a career
in mathematics. She was responsible for the formation of the Pi Mu Epsilon
Chapter and the MAA Student Chapter at Georgian Court
College. Sr. Stephanie has always actively encouraged her colleagues and
students to attend Section meetings. In 1996, she made a presentation of
the history of the New Jersey Section at the 40th anniversary meeting. She
has hosted several Section meetings and will host yet again this spring at
Georgian Court.
Sr. Stephanie Sloyan holds an A.B. degree (1945) with a major in
Natural Science and a minor in Mathematics from Georgian Court College, an
M.A. (1949) and a Ph.D. (1952) both in Mathematics from the Catholic
University of America. She has been a faculty member at Georgian Court
College since joining the Department of Mathematics in 1952. Following a
term as President (196874), she returned to the department as chairperson
until 1996. During her years as chair, she established a Master's Degree
program in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science.
Whatever her specific office in the Mathematical Association of
America, Sr. Stephanie has always been ready to give guidance and
assistance to others. The New Jersey Section is very pleased to nominate
Sister M. Stephanie Sloyan for the Meritorious Service award and is
grateful for her many years of invaluable service.
Response from Sister Sloyan
I am grateful and honored to receive this award from the New Jersey
Section and especially to Naomi Shapiro, Evan Alderfer and Terry Michnowicz
who nominated me. I should like to add something of my experience in summer
school teaching. In the summer of 1953, I was invited by Dr. Raymond Moller
of the Catholic University of America to teach Geometry I to students
seeking a Master's degree. I did this, followed the next summer by Geometry
I and Geometry II, all classes in Catholic University. I followed this
program for a number of years having at first small classes and later large
classes. For me this was an excellent experience. I hope the students could
say the same.
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Stanley Eliason, OklahomaArkansas
Section
Citation
The OklahomaArkansas Section has selected Professor Stanley Eliason of
the University of Oklahoma to receive the Certificate of Meritorious
Service.
Professor Eliason has a distinguished record of service to the MAA and
indeed to the mathematics profession. He has been an enthusiastic and
effective promoter of the profession over many years. In fact, many
of the former students for whom he served as a mentor are now members
of the OklahomaArkansas Section.
He served as SecretaryTreasurer for this Section (199196). He was a
member of the Committee on Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics of the MAA
(199093). He has been a member of the national MAA Coordinating Council
for Competitions since 1995 and a member of the national MAA Committee on
Local and Regional Competitions since 1997. Professor Eliason is also a
member of the Board of Governors of IMO2001, the International Math
Olympiad, to be held in Washington, DC, in 2001 and has served as a member
of the national MAA Planning Committee for the January 2000 meeting in
Washington, DC.
Professor Eliason has dedicated extensive service to Mu Alpha Theta, an
honorary mathematics society for high school and junior college
students. He has served as National SecretaryTreasurer of Mu Alpha Theta
since 1993 and has worked tirelessly to promote this organization.
Response from Professor
Eliason
I feel most honored to receive the Certificate of Meritorious Service
Award from the MAA.
For this award I must credit the members of the OklahomaArkansas
Section who served as officers, Section meeting hosts, speakers and general
volunteers for the years I served as SecretaryTreasurer. Their service was
in turn supported and encouraged by numerous mathematics departments in the
twostate region. Without their endeavors and good wishes this award would
not have been possible.
I also wish to extend appreciation to the national officers of the MAA
who supported the work of the OklahomaArkansas Section; and also extend
appreciation to a number of them who over the years have helped to foster
the work of the Mu Alpha Theta.
Thank you all very much.
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Mario Martelli, Southern California
Section
Citation
Professor Mario Martelli came from a professorship at his native
University of Florence, Italy, to the United States in 1980 and became a
member of the Southern California Section of the MAA in 1987, when he was
appointed to a position as Professor at California State University at
Fullerton. He served the Section as Program ViceChair in 199394 and
Program Chair in 199495, and in those positions was instrumental in
obtaining outstanding speakers and programs. From 1996 through 1999, he
served as SecretaryTreasurer of the Section, and he was an enabling force
and organizer that kept everything running smoothly.
However, Mario's unique and perhaps most important contribution to
mathematics and to the MAA in Southern California is the result of his
special work with undergraduate students. Mario is both a firstrate
research mathematician and an outstanding teacher. He was awarded the
Section's Distinguished Teacher Award in 1994 and the Outstanding Teacher
Award of the entire California State University system a year later. His
clear and interesting lectures and his infectious enthusiasm for
mathematics and for research attracts and inspires students, and at his
urging many of his students have attended MAA meetings. Mario believes
strongly in the value of having students engage in research and present
their work to the mathematical community at MAA meetings. He quickly has
many of his own students working on research ideas. A number have written
papers with Mario, and many more have presented posters on their work at
our Section meetings. At least five of his students have presented posters
at annual meetings of the AMS/MAA. Most notably, one student was chosen to
present a poster at the Poster Session for Members of the U.S. Congress
organized by the Council on Undergraduate Research in Washington, DC, in
April 1998. Following Mario's lead, other faculty members have also
persuaded their students to present their work at our Section meetings, and
this is now a wellestablished tradition.
In recognition of his years of service and leadership, the Southern
California Section is proud to present the year 2000 Certificate for
Meritorious Service to Professor Mario Martelli.
Response from Professor
Martelli
To be nominated by the Southern California Section for this award, with
a particular mention of the work I have done with undergraduates at the
local and national level, is one more piece of the beautiful mosaic
celebrating the MAA commitment to education. To make a difference in the
life of my students by offering them a very comprehensive and rich
perspective of mathematics as an art in itself, and as a bridge between the
past and the future for other disciplines, has always been my first
priority. The award I receive today seems to suggest that I have succeeded
in this effort. Together with my students' appreciation, this is the best
recognition I could have ever dreamed of. Thank you.
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Chauvenet Prize
The Chauvenet Prize for expository writing, first awarded in 1925 to
Gilbert Bliss of the University of Chicago, is given for an outstanding
expository article on a mathematical topic by a member of the
Association. 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.
Don Zagier
"Newman's short proof of the prime number theorem," American
Mathematical Monthly 104 (1997), 705708
Citation
Don Zagier dedicates his article to the prime number theorem on the
occasion of its 100th birthday. This theorem, which is one of the most
fundamental and beautiful results in number theory, was originally proved
independently by Hadamard and de la VallÃ©e Poussin. Their proofs
were lengthy and complicated. In a 1980 Monthly article, Donald
J. Newman developed a very simple and elegant Tauberian argument needed for
an analytic proof of the prime number theorem. Zagier's article is based on
Newman's approach and gives a completely selfcontained yet concise
analytic proof of the prime number theorem. It is a masterpiece of
excellent mathematical exposition and is accessible to anyone with a
minimum background in complex analysis.
Biographical Note
Don Zagier was born in 1951 on both German and American soil, and this
dual European and American existence has continued throughout his life. He
graduated from high school in California in 1965, took his English
"Alevels" in 1966, earned his B.Sc. in mathematics and physics from MIT in
1968 and his D.Phil. from Oxford in 1972 (though actually completing
his thesis in Bonn under the supervision of F. Hirzebruch). After postdoc
positions in Switzerland and France, he worked both in Bonn (first in
the "SFB" and since 1984 at the Max Planck Institute of Mathematics, of
which he is now a director) and at the University of Maryland, where he was
a professor from 1979 till 1990, spending half of each year in each
country. Since 1990 he has also been a professor at the University of
Utrecht in Holland.
His main research interests are in number theory, especially
Diophantine equations and the theory of modular forms, but he has also
worked on various questions of topology, algebraic geometry, or
mathematical physics which have a strong numbertheoretical or
combinatorial component. Together with B. Gross he proved a result in the
direction of the BirchSwinnertonDyer conjecture which, in conjunction
with a previous result of D. Goldfeld, led to the solution of Gauss's class
number problem, and for this work he received the 1987 Frank Nelson Cole
Prize of the AMS jointly with these two mathematicians. Other awards
include the German Carus medal, the French Elie Cartan prize, and
membership in several academies.
Response from Professor
Zagier
The challenge of finding the "best" proof and the best exposition of a
mathematical theorem has always seemed to me one of the most enjoyable and
attractive tasks in mathematics, so I was delighted to learn that I would
receive the Chauvenet Prize for my presentation of D.J. Newman's wonderful
proof of the prime number theorem. I had read the elementary but difficult
proof of this theorem by Selberg and ErdÃ¶s at an early age, since it
forms the climax of Hardy and Wright's Introduction to the Theory of
Numbers which I had won as a prize while in school in England. (Reading
this book, by the way, was one of the main reasons that I became a number
theorist, so I was happy to learn that Hardy had won one of the first
Chauvenet Prizes for an expository article with the same title.) When I
learned of Newman's approach, I felt that the "right" proof of the prime
number theorem had finally been found, and I am happy that I was able to
contribute to its popularization.
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Frank and Brennie Morgan AMSMAASIAM Prize for
Outstanding Research in Mathematics by an Undergraduate Student
The Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize recognizes and encourages outstanding
mathematical research by undergraduate students. Undergraduates are working
on problems of current research interest, proving theorems, writing
up results for publication, and giving talks on their work. There is
undergraduate research today at the highest standards of professional
excellence. The prize was endowed by Mrs. Frank Morgan and also carries
the name of her late husband.
Sean Thomas McLaughlin
Citation
The 1999 winner of the Morgan Prize for Outstanding Research by an
Undergraduate is Sean Thomas McLaughlin, whose undergraduate studies are
being conducted at the University of Michigan. His submission for the
prize is based on his proof of the "Dodecahedral Conjecture," a major
problem in discrete geometry related to, but distinct from, Kepler's sphere
packing problem, and a conjecture that has resisted the efforts of the
strongest workers in this area for nearly sixty years.
The committee formed the opinion that the solution of this old,
difficult conjecture constituted a singular achievement of such stature
that this work alone was deserving of the highest recognition. Letters
written in support of his nomination convincingly detailed the fundamental
contributions made by McLaughlin to the resolution of the Dodecahedral
Conjecture, and also the excitement on the international scene accompanying
the latter's proof.
The strength of his research, together with the emphatically
enthusiastic letters detailing his achievements, offer convincing
evidence that he is an outstanding candidate, and the committee is proud to
give the 1999 Frank and Brennie Morgan prize to Sean McLaughlin.
Biographical Note
Sean Thomas McLaughlin is a double major in mathematics and clarinet
performance at the University of Michigan. In his free time he enjoys
soccer and hiking.
Response from Sean McLaughlin
I couldn't have done any of this work without many hours of discussion
with Tom Hales and Sam Furgeson. It was really a group effort all
around. I'd also like to recognize the REU and UROP programs which
partially funded this research for the better part of two years. Finally,
thank you to Gabor FejesToth for inviting me to present the proof at the
mathematics institute in Budapest.
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Honorable Mention
Samit Dasgupta
Citation
The work of Samit Dasgupta is amazingly sophisticated and diverse. His
papers address problems from number theory, social choice theory, group
theory, and combinatorics. The research on Stark's Conjectures, presented
as his honors thesis at Harvard, is particularly impressive. Dasgupta has
shown deep understanding of this area in modern number theory, exhibiting a
solid background in complex analysis and class field theory. He has
extended the computational work to a setting that had never been
considered. He and Daniel Biss (Morgan Prize 1998) showed their extensive
understanding of algebra in "A presentation for the unipotent group over
rings with identity" (submitted for publication). His paper, "On the size
of minimum super arrovian domains" (SIAM Journal of Discrete Mathematics)
significantly extends results of Fishburn and Kelly on a generalization of
Arrow's "impossibility theorem." Samit Dasgupta is an extraordinarily
versatile mathematician and the committee is pleased to grant him
Honorable Mention for the 1999 Morgan Prize.
Biographical Note
Samit Dasgupta grew up in Silver Spring, MD. He was introduced to
mathematics, in particular number theory, at the Ross Young Scholars
Program at Ohio State University during the summer of 1992 and
conducted his first original research at the Research Science Institute at
MIT in the summer of 1994. There, he wrote a number theory paper for which
he won fourth place in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search. Additional
high school awards included the 1995 USA Mathematical Olympiad and winning
a place on the USA Today AllAcademic Team.
In 1999, Dasgupta graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University
with an A.B. degree in mathematics. His primary interest in college was
number theory, though he enjoyed conducting research in combinatorics
and group theory at Professor Gallian's Research Experience for
Undergraduates Program in Duluth, MN. During college, he was a course
assistant for Freshman Honors Calculus and also for Abstract
Algebra. Dasgupta received Certificates for Distinction in Teaching for
both classes. He also received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship and was
awarded the David Mumford Prize by the Harvard Mathematics
Department.
Samit Dasgupta is currently a research assistant for Professors Martin
Feldstein and John Campbell at the National Bureau of Economic Research in
Cambridge, MA. He plans to attend graduate school in mathematics in the
fall of 2000.
Response from Samit Dasgupta
I am very honored to receive the Honorable Mention award for the 2000
Frank and Brennie Morgan Prize. I would like to thank all those who
assisted me in my research by providing guidance, suggestions, and
encouragement. In particular, I would like to recognize Professor Brian
Conrad (Harvard University), Professor Joseph Gallian (University of
MinnesotaDuluth), and Daniel Biss (MIT).
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YuehGin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for
Distinguished Service to Mathematics
The YuehGin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service
to Mathematics is the most prestigious award made by the Association. This
award, first given in 1990, is the successor to the Award for Distinguished
Service to Mathematics, awarded since 1962, and has been made possible by
the late Dr. Hu and his wife, YuehGin Gung. It is worth noting that Dr. Hu
was not a mathematician. He was a retired professor of geology at the
University of Maryland. He had such strong feelings about the basic nature
of mathematics and its importance in all human endeavors that he felt
impelled to contribute generously to our discipline.
Paul R. Halmos
Citation
No mathematician alive today has influenced American mathematics more
than Paul Halmos. He has written important research papers in operator
theory, ergodic theory, and logic. He has edited major journals and served
on many committees for the AMS and MAA. He has written textbooks and
expository articles. His lectures always give us new insights.
Halmos came to the United States from Hungary as a teenager. He
graduated from the University of Illinois in 1934 and received his
Ph.D. there in 1938, working with J.L. Doob. Since then he has been on the
regular faculty at Illinois, Syracuse, Chicago, Michigan, Hawaii, Indiana,
Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara, and held visiting appointments at several
other places, both here and abroad. (He describes himself as
"restless.")
Halmos was the editor of the Proceedings of the AMS from 1958 to
1963, an editor of the Indiana University Journal of Mathematics
(formerly the Journal of Mathematics and Mechanics) from 1969 to
1986, the book reviews editor of the Bulletin of the AMS from 1974
to 1979, and the editor of the American Mathematical Monthly from
1982 to 1986. He has been a member of the council of the AMS and served on
countless committees of the AMS and MAA including a Committee to Prepare a
Pamphlet to Aid in Reading Russian Mathematical Articles.
Halmos has always believed in the importance of proof in mathematics,
but he thinks that conceptual understanding is equally important. For him a
"good" proof of a theorem is one that sheds light on why it's true. This
makes him ambivalent about proofs (e.g., of the fourcolor theorem) that
rely heavily on computers. It has also encouraged him to write books that
emphasize ideas in addition to proofs; his lectures and writings often take
fresh approaches designed to highlight the conceptual aspects of his
topic.
He was von Neumann's assistant at the Institute for Advanced Study in
193940 and von Neumann's lectures on operator theory inspired him to write
Finite Dimensional Vector Spaces (1942), the first book to adopt an
operator point of view toward this important topic, which was, in those
days, a graduate level subject. His second book, Measure Theory
(1950), was another first, presenting at the beginning graduate level many
topics in measure and integration that had been considered only at the
research level, for example, the essential relation between measure theory
and probability theory. Halmos' book made a great deal of this material
accessible and still delimits that part of the theory that graduate
students are expected to know. Other books have followed, thirteen in all,
introductory books, problems books, books of lectures. Several of his works
have been translated into other languages.
Halmos' books, and his shorter papers as well, are distinguished by
clarity of exposition that has been recognized by the MAA with the
Chauvenet Prize, the PÃ³lya Prize, and two Lester R. Ford Awards; the
AMS has awarded him the Steele Prize for mathematical exposition.
With his extraordinary energy and exceptional talent for exposition,
Paul Halmos has been an invaluable asset to the mathematical community.
Response from Paul R. Halmos
Friends, colleagues, amateurs 
We are all amateurs, aren't we  lovers of mathematics ?
My reaction when I learned that I was to receive the Gung Hu award was:
"Who  me?" Of course I felt greatly pleased, hugely flattered, and deeply
honored. The preliminary announcement reached me on the 30,469th day
of my life  and you all immediately recognize  don't you?  that's a
prime day.
The regulations governing the award state that it is to be made for
service to mathematics  and that too pleases me. Mathematics has
been my master during all my adult life, and I value being recognized as a
faithful servant.
I regret that I couldn't be with you in the body when the announcement
was made, but I was very much with you in spirit.
Thank you  thank you all  thank you very much.
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