MAA Writing Awards
Do Symmetric Problems Have Symmetric Solutions?
Year of Award: 1984
Award: Lester R. Ford
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 90, 1983, pp. 378-387
Summary: This paper examines the question, "When does a function that is symmetric in several variables achieve its maximum or minimum at the point where all of the variables are equal?" Along the analysis of the results, the paper contains historical and biographical information about the mathematicians who have addressed this question over the years.
About the Author: (from The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 90 (1983)) William C. Waterhouse studied at Harvard, receiving his Ph.D. in 1968 under the guidance of John Tate. He taught at Cornell until 1975, when he moved to Penn State. His research has been mainly in algebra, algebraic geometry, and algebraic number theory. He has also published an Introduction to Affine Group Schemes and several articles on the history of mathematics.