Mines News

Release Date Thursday, August 24, 2017

SD Mines Professor Wins Award for Mathematics Writing

Travis Kowalski, Ph.D., receives the George Pólya Award at the MAA MathFest 2017. Photo credit Mathematical Association of America.

RAPID CITY, SD (Aug. 24, 2017) – South Dakota School of Mines & Technology math professor Travis Kowalski, Ph.D., is the winner of the George Pólya Award for his paper The Sine of a Single Degree. This award recognizes the exceptional papers published in The College Mathematics Journal, a publication of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). In the paper, Kowalski uses three different mathematical methods, geometry, algebra and complex analysis to examine the sine of one degree, in the process he reveals what he calls “surprising or beautiful mathematics.” The judges recognized Kowalski for excellent descriptive writing on the subject. 

Awards for the year’s best mathematics writing were given on July 27 in Chicago at the MAA MathFest, one of the largest gatherings of mathematicians in the country. Kowalski was on hand to accept the award.

“Getting a paper accepted to The College Mathematics Journal is notable given the prestige of the publication in the mathematics community. However, receiving the Pólya award is a unique honor that gives international recognition for the work and talent that Kowalski consistently demonstrates in his career,” says Kyle Riley, Ph.D., and head of the department of mathematics and computer science at Mines. “Kowalski is a good example when we mention that we have world-class faculty at Mines.” 

The George Pólya Award was established in 1976. It is named after the renowned teacher and writer, and is given for articles of expository excellence published in The College Mathematics Journal. This award is $1,000 and two awards are given each year.

“These award winners represent the best in mathematical writing, and we are proud that they are choosing to publish their work with the Mathematical Association of America,” said Michael Pearson, executive director of the MAA. “Clear and effective writing is the foundation of the mathematical community and the wider scientific community.”


About SD Mines  

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,778 students with a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of $62,929. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on Facebook and Twitter.


Contact: Charles Michael Ray , 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu

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