Newswise — Every year at its summer meeting, the Mathematical Association of America recognizes for expository excellence articles that were published during the previous year in its three journals and student-friendly magazine.
The 2014 prize winners run the gamut:
- In "Deranged Socks" (Mathematics Magazine, winner of the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award) Sally Cockburn (Hamilton College) and Joshua Lesperance (Oberlin College) replace gloves with socks for a fun and surprisingly challenging twist on a familiar combinatorics problem.
- In "Feedback, Control, and the Distribution of Prime Numbers" (Mathematics Magazine, winner of the Carl B. Allendoerfer Award), Susan H. Marshall and Donald R. Smith (Monmouth University) describe an unusual application of the feedback and control technique from mathematical modeling to a classical mystery of number theory, the distribution of prime numbers.
- In "The Beauty of Bounded Gaps: A Huge Discovery about Prime Numbers and What it Means for the Future of Mathematics" (Math Horizons, winner of the Trevor Evans Award), Jordan Ellenberg (University of Wisconsin-Madison) offers his take on progress toward proof of the twin prime conjecture.
- Will Traves (United States Military Academy) begins "From Pascal's Theorem to d-Constructible Curves" (The American Mathematical Monthly, winner of the Halmos-Ford Award) with the history of the word "syzygy," but by paper’s end he has led readers to an understanding of d-constructible curves.
- Tadashi Tokieda’s "Roll Models" (The American Mathematical Monthly, winner of the Halmos-Ford Award) invites readers to experiment with pens and pot lids and golf balls and spools of thread, and illustrates that, in applied mathematics, while interrogation of surprising phenomena may lead to the derivation of surprisingly simple principles, further investigations inevitably suggest themselves.
- In "Christiane’s Hair" (The American Mathematical Monthly, winner of the Halmos-Ford Award), Jacques Lévy Véhel (Ecole Centrale Paris) and Franklin Mendivil (Acadia University) guide readers through an exploration of the geometric and measure-theoretic properties of stacked Cantor sets.
- In "Heronian Tetrahedra Are Lattice Tetrahedra" (The American Mathematical Monthly, winner of the Halmos-Ford Award), Susan H. Marshall (Monmouth University) and Alexander R. Perlis extend a result about Heronian triangles into three dimensions.
- If you think "Who solved the Bernoulli differential equation?" is as readily answerable as "Who is buried in Grant’s tomb," Adam Parker (Wittenberg University) will disillusion you in "Who Solved the Bernoulli Differential Equation and How Did They Do It?" (The College Mathematics Journal, winner of the George Pólya Award).
- In "How Inge Lehmann Discovered the Inner Core of the Earth" (The College Mathematics Journal, winner of the George Pólya Award), Christiane Rousseau (University of Montreal) describes how researchers use their “mathematical eyes” to see what lies deep within the Earth.
Complete citations, as well as additional information about the prize-winning pieces and their authors, can be found in the prize booklet.
The Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Formed in 1915, the association members include university, college, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists; statisticians; and many others in academia, government, business, and industry who are interested in the mathematical sciences.