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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Throwback Fact: The Mathematical Association of America

In a couple of weeks the Center of Math will be attending the Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in Seattle. The American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) run this annual event, which is one of the largest mathematics meeting in the world. To get ready for our trip, the Center of Math wanted to write about the history of the MAA for this weeks Throwback Fact. And if your wondering why we aren’t talking about the AMS, it’s because we already did a Throwback Fact on them, which you can check out here. So keep reading to learn more about the MAA!

Current logo by the MAA. Visit their website here!

The MAA was officially established in 1915 after a two-day meeting in December. The meeting occurred on the Ohio State University Campus and was attended by 104 people. The first president of the MAA was E. R. Hedrick of the University of Missouri who presided over the meeting. From there, the MAA continued to grow and add new members, products, programs, and much more.

The MAA sponsors and administers many mathematical competitions each year, the most famous being the William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, which has been offered annually since 1938, and tests undergraduate mathematics students' ability to ingeniously apply their knowledge with twelve often quite devilish questions. This year's Putnam occurred quite recently on December 5, and people are still discussing its problems on the internet. They also sponsor the similar American Mathematics Competition, aimed at middle schools and high schoolers, which has been running for more then 60 years. The MAA is also responsible for a lot of mathematical awards and prizes like the Chauvenet Prizes (est. 1925) which is given for “outstanding expository article on a mathematical topic.” As well as the Merten M. Hasse Prize (est. 1986) which is given to inspiring and dedicated teachers.

The MAA is also known for their numerous supported publications and journals. Their most popular publication the American Mathematical Monthly, which is published ten times a year and was founded by Benjamin Finkel in 1894. Some of their other publications include the Mathematics Magazine, aimed at teachers of undergraduate mathematics, and Math Horizons, a magazine that features articles about particularly beautiful mathematics.

Today, the MAA’s headquarters are located in Washington DC, and the organization has over 14,000 members. They just celebrated their centennial, a huge accomplishment for any organization, as they continue to advance mathematics and education. Learn more about the MAA by visiting their website.

We hope to see you at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in January! More information to come!

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