Dr. Harold P. Boas, professor of mathematics at Texas A&M University, has been recognized with a 2007 Lester R. Ford Award by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for articles of expository excellence published in the American Mathematical Monthly.

Boas was presented with the prestigious award at the 2007 Summer MathFest, held August 4 in San Jose, Calif., in recognition for his article, "Reflections on the Arbelos," American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 113, no. 3, 2006, pp. 236-249.

The citation reads... "Beginning with a brief account of a letter received from a mathematical amateur seeking help with an elementary geometry problem, Boas rhapsodizes on the history and mathematics of the arbelos, the plane region bounded by three semicircles tangent in pairs and having diameters on the same line. He presents a simple argument using reflection across the diameter line to calculate the area of the arbelos and elegantly establishes Pappus' theorem on chains of tangent circles in the arbelos by means of reflection in a circle (i.e., inversion). He notes, as did Jacob Steiner in 1826, how such chains of circles are related to Pythagorean triangles.

"Besides Pappus and Steiner, along the way we meet Julian Lowell Coolidge, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), the German engineer Otto Mohr, and the dentist, avocational mathematician, and arbelos expert Leon Banko, among others. Boas provides a rich mix of classical and inversion geometry, all while deftly weaving in historical and cultural observations (from leather-working knives to sangaku tablets in Japanese temples) and offering some surprising facts and most beautiful proofs."

A Texas A&M faculty member since 1984, Boas is an internationally known scholar in several complex variables, having won the Bergman Prize (joint with Emil Straube) in 1995. His many accomplishments include serving as the editor from 2001 to 2003 of the Notices, published by the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Established in 1964, the Ford Awards consist of a citation and cash prize.

The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is the world's largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. The MAA has 27,000 members who participate in a variety of activities that foster mathematics education, professional development, student involvement and public policy. MAA's national focus is complemented by its 29 regional sections -- together functioning as an extensive network for the mathematics community.


Contact: Shana Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

King Tura

  • Dr. Harold P. Boas

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