Chauvenet prize to Burger

09/01/04

MAA prize paper

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Sept. 2, 2004 Professor Edward Burger, chair of the department of mathematics at Williams College, has been awarded the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Chauvenet Prize for his article, "Diophantine Olympics and world champions: polynomials and primes down under." The paper uses an extended metaphor to link diophantine number theory to an Olympic event.

The Chauvenet Prize is given to an author of an outstanding expository article at the annual meeting of the MAA, and consists of a certificate and a $1,000 prize. The prize is the oldest and most prestigious of the MAA awards. In making the award, Burger's work was characterized as "distinguished by its clarity and the originality of its presentation. a fresh perspective on some classical and new mathematics all arrayed in modern guise."

He believes "mathematicians are explorers, involved in an exploration of abstract realms; we're also artists, letting our imagination and creativity lead us through a world bound by the constraints of truth." He is especially dedicated to making mathematics accessible to everyone, and encourages his students, asserting that math "allows us to see every aspect of our world in a clearer, more focused manner."

Burger has also received the MAA Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College or University Teaching in 2001, one of four Williams professors to receive the award: Colin Adams (1998), Frank Morgan (1993), and Thomas Garrity (2003) were past recipients.

Burger's research focuses on number theory, particularly Diophantine approximation and the geometry of numbers, and is the author of "Making Transcendence Transparent: An intuitive approach to classical transcendental number theory." He has lectured at nearly 200 universities and mathematical conferences around the world. He is also the author of "The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking," as well as a series of iCD-ROM "virtual video interactive textbooks." He received his B.A. from Connecticut College in 1985 and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1990.

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