Friday, December 6, 2013

Beckenbach Book Prize 2014

The Beckenbach Book Prize, established in 1986, is the successor to the MAA Book Prize established in 1982. It is named for the late Edwin Beckenbach, a long-time leader in the publications program of the Association and a well-known professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles. The Prize of $2,500 is intended to recognize the author(s) of a distinguished, innovative book published by the MAA and to encourage the writing of such books. The award is not given on a regularly scheduled basis. To be considered for the Beckenbach Prize a book must have been published during the five years preceding the Award.

The 2014 Beckenbach Book Prize winner is:

A Historian Looks Back

by Judith Grabiner

Judith Grabiner has written extensively on the history of mathematics. This collection, representing some of Grabiner's finest work, highlights the benefits of studying the development of mathematical ideas and the relationship between culture and mathematics.

A large part of the book (Part I) is a welcome reprinting of Grabiner's The Calculus as Algebra: J.-L. Lagrange, 1736-1813 (1990), which focuses on Lagrange's pioneering effort to reduce the calculus to algebra.

Ten articles (Part II) span a range of other mathematical topics, including widely held myths about the history of mathematics and the work of such mathematicians as Descartes, Newton, and Maclaurin. Six of these articles won awards from the MAA for expository excellence.

This collection is an inspiring resource for courses on the history of mathematics. It reveals the creativity that has produced the mathematics we see as the finished product in textbooks.

The MAA will be honoring Judith Grabiner and her book at the 2014 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore. Learn more here.

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