MAA Writing Awards
Square roots from 1; 24, 51,10 to Dan Shanks
Award: George Pólya Award
Year of Award: 2000
Publication Information: The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 30 (1999), pp. 82-95.
Summary: The author describes the history of the calculation of square roots, both ancient and modern, including the relation of the methods to continued fractions and modular arithmetic.
About the Author: (from The College Mathematics Journal, Vol. 30 (1999)) Ezra (Bud) Brown is a Professor of Mathematics at Virginia Tech and a mathematical grandson of L. E. Dickinson via Gordon Pall. With degrees from Rice and Louisiana State, he has been at Virginia Tech since 1969 except for sabbatical visits to Washington, DC and Munich. His main research interests are in number theory (especially computational) and graph theory, but he once wrote a paper with a sociologist. He enjoys singing in operas, playing jazz piano, and cooking. And although it has been many years since sixth grade, square roots still intrigue him.