MAA Writing Awards
Variations on an Irrational Theme — Geometry, Dynamics, Algebra
Award: Carl B. Allendoerfer
Year of Award: 1998
Publication Information: Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 70(1997), pp. 93-104
Summary: Notions of irrationality, in particular infinite descent, formulated using linear algebra and applied t dynamical systems.
About the Authors: (from Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 70 (1997)) Dan Kalman has been an Associate Executive Director of the MAA. He is a professor at American University, where he joined the mathematics faculty after working for 8 years in the aerospace industry. Before that he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Kalman has a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is grateful to his friends Mena and Shahriari for writing this paper with him, thereby reducing his Erdos number to 4 by two routes.
Robert Mena has been teaching at CSULB since 1988, after 15 years at the University of Wyoming. His favorite courses are the History of Mathematics, Number Theory, Statistics, and Combinatorics.
Shahriar Shahriari has been teaching mathematics at Pomona College since 1989. He received a B.A. from Oberlin College in 1977 and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in1986. His current research interests are in combinatorics of finite sets. Among the courses he teaches at Pomona is an alternative to second semester calculus, in which calculus topics are taught in the context of number theory, and the students develop all the material through solving problems. In his free time he likes to cook Iranian food. His specialities include Ghormehsabzi and Fesenjon.