Lee’s Akin Wins MAA Student Paper Contest

Friday, September 29, 2017 - by Charity Parris, Lee University
Amanda Akin
Amanda Akin

Lee University student Amanda Akin won a Mathematical Association of America Student Paper Contest for her research paper. 

“Receiving this award was such an exciting surprise for me,” said Ms. Akin, a Lee graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. “It was such a fun topic to research, and I had a blast exploring and writing on it. Mathematics is truly a deep and beautiful field, and with this paper, I had the opportunity to explore it more.” 

The contest is sponsored by the History of Mathematics Special Interest Group of the MAA. Ms. Akin is one of three winners this year. The others are students of Harvard University and the University of Missouri—Kansas City. 

Ms. Akin’s essay, “To Infinity and Beyond: A Historical Journey on Contemplating the Infinite,” traces the concept of infinity throughout history. She started with its ancient use as a means to discuss philosophy, space, and time, then explored how from there, it was slowly laced into mathematics. Overall, Akin’s paper exposed the elusive, creative side of mathematics through tackling the complex concept of infinity. 

“Amanda’s paper is an excellent example of what detailed and creative expository research in this history of mathematics looks like,” said Dr. Laura Singletary, assistant professor of mathematics at Lee. “It was a delight to mentor Amanda during this research experience in my History of Mathematics course.” 

Each winning student received one-year memberships in MAA and in the Canadian Society for History and Philosophy of Mathematics, along with a book on history of mathematics. The winning papers were selected by a team of nine judges and were published in Convergence, the MAA’s free online journal about the history of mathematics and its use in teaching. 

“Winning this award and having this paper published means I was able to share the remarkable and fascinating things I stumbled upon with those in and out of my field, and it’s an absolute honor to have such an opportunity,” said Ms. Akin. “Dr. Singletary and my fellow Lee mathematicians were instrumental in shaping the paper into one good enough to be recognized nationally.” 

To view Ms. Akin’s paper, visit https://www.maa.org/sites/default/files/images/upload_library/46/HOMSIGMAA/HOM_AmandaAkin_ToInfinityandBeyond.pdf

For more information about MAA, visit https://www.maa.org/

For more information about Lee’s Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department, call 614-8275.

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