MAA Writing Awards
The Adventures of \(\pi\)-Man: Measuring the Universe
Award: Trevor Evans Award
Year of Award: 2011
In this article, the reader travels with the remarkable \(\pi\) -Man as he measures his way from the Earth to the Universe. He measures the circumference of the Earth with just a pocket watch; he measures time and the weight of the Earth with a yardstick; and he measures the universe with no tools at all.
As he progresses, we move from the realm of Euclidean Geometry to Einstein‟s Special and General Theories of Relativity and to cutting edge work using the Hubble Telescope. And so with π-Man, we too understand “that geometry (\(\gamma\epsilon\omicron\mu\epsilon\tau\rho\psi\)) really means 'measuring the Earth'."
About the Author
Lawrence Brenton was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (B.A.) and the University of Washington (Ph.D.). Following postdoctoctoral work at the University of Bonn, he came to Wayne State University, where he has served on the mathematics faculty for thirty-six years.
Professor Brenton‟s research interests are algebraic geometry and several complex variables, with particular focus on singularities of analytic varieties. This work has led to contributions to singularity theory in mathematical physics.
Throughout his tenure, Professor Brenton has pursued educational issues with keen enthusiasm, having directed the Wayne State Undergraduate Research Group for many years, in addition to mentoring graduate students in mathematics education and contributing to curriculum development.