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A Pi Day of the Century Every Year

by Cornelia A. Van Cott

Year of Award: 2017

Publication Information: Math Horizons, Vol. 23, no. 3, February 2016, pp. 24-27.

Summary (adapted from the MAA Prizes and Awards booklet for MAA MathFest 2017)This is a very well written article with a pace and level accessible to undergraduate mathematics majors as well as to more mature mathematicians. The author takes the popular mathematical concepts of circle and diameter (from which π arises) and generalizes the notion of circle and hence diameter. Readers are led to learn the general structure of norms on the plane as they ponder other kinds of distance besides the normal Euclidean distance. The explanations are both precise and intuitive, and are supported by helpful illustrated examples.

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About the Author: (From the MathFest 2017 MAA Prizes and Awards Booklet)

Cornelia A. Van Cott is associate professor of mathematics at the University of San Francisco, where she has been since 2008. She received her B.S. in mathematics at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois) and her Ph.D. at Indiana University. Outside of teaching, Cornelia enjoys thinking about topology and speaking about mathematics to all audiences -- from children to adults.