The prize is awarded to an author of a distinguished, innovative book published by the MAA. Unlike other awards, it is not given out annually, but only when a truly outstanding book appears.
Kalman’s book, “Uncommon Mathematical Excursions: Polynomia and Related Realms,” delves deeply into high school through introductory college-level algebra, geometry and calculus. It extends the breadth of the subjects, offering math teachers and others “new aspects of an old, familiar terrain,” Kalman writes in the book’s preface.
“Although this book was written with teachers in mind, it is really for anyone who holds a deep affection for the core curriculum, and wishes to study more of it. This can include specialists in allied fields who retain a strong mathematical inclination, as well as students who are particularly attracted to the subject,” writes Kalman. “They will find curious connections, surprising patterns and unexpected insights about old and familiar ideas.”
A companion website for the book can be viewed here.
Kalman is a professor of mathematics at American University in Washington, D.C. He has served on the editorial boards of Mathematics Magazine, MAA FOCUS, Math Horizons, and the MAA’s Spectrum and Classroom Resource Materials book series. Kalman received the association’s George Pólya Award in 1994 for his article, “Six Ways to Sum a Series” and again in 2003 for “An Undetermined Linear System for GPS,” both published in The College Mathematics Journal.
Established in 1986, the Beckenbach Book Prize is named after the late Edwin Beckenbach, a long-time leader in the MAA publications program and professor of mathematics at the University of California at Los Angeles.
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