MAA Writing Awards
Geometry, Voting, and Paradoxes
Award: Carl B. Allendoerfer
Year of Award: 1999
Publication Information: Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 71(1998), pp. 243-259
Summary: Discussion and history of voting procedures and problems.
About the Authors: (from Mathematics Magazine, Vol. 71 (1998)) Don Saari received his bachelor's degree from Michigan Technological University and his Ph.D. in mathematics from Purdue University. After a postdoctoral position in the Yale University astronomy department, he moved to Northwestern University. He is currently a professor at Unversity of California Irvine. His research interests emphasize applications of dynamical systems to mathematical physics (in particular, the Newtonian n-body problem) and to issues arising in economics and the other social sciences. The disturbing conclusion of Arrow's theorem was sparked by his interest in the areas of decision and voting theory; this led to his book Basic Geometry of Voting.
Fabrice Valognes received his Ph.D. in mathematical economics at the University of Caen (France-Normandy). In 1995, he received his DEA in Microeconomic Theory (the DEA is the equivalent of the first year in a Ph.D. program). In that year, after he followed Professor Saari's lectures on geometry of voting, he decided to write his thesis on voting theory.