Professor Jeremy Gray, who teaches the History of Mathematics at The Open University, has been awarded the prestigious 2009 American Mathematical Society Whiteman Prize.
Presented every three years by the AMS, the prize honours notable work promoting the History of Mathematics and reflects exceptional mathematical scholarship. The prize was awarded on January 6 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Washington, DC.
Jeremy said: “I was surprised and delighted to receive the award, and I think it’s very important that the American Mathematical Society recognises the history of mathematics in this way. It enhances the subject, and I like to think it honours The Open University for its significant role in the last 20 or more years.”
According to the citation, the prize "recognises the value of Jeremy Gray's many historical works, which have not only shed great light on the history of modern mathematics but also have given an example of the ways in which historical scholarship can contribute to the understanding of mathematics and its philosophy.
Specifically mentioned in the citation are three books by Gray, Ideas of Space (1979), Linear Differential Equations and Group Theory from Riemann to Poincaré (1986), and The Hilbert Challenge (2000), as well as an undergraduate textbook, Worlds Out of Nothing (2007).
The prize citation concludes, "Jeremy Gray's spirited presentations of a wide range of subjects of nineteenth and twentieth century mathematics have earned the respect of his colleagues for the quality of both their historical scholarship and their mathematical accuracy and insight, exactly the traits that the Whiteman Prize is meant to recognize."
Jeremy is currently working with Professor Umberto Bottazzini of Milan University on a history of complex function theory as well as working with Professor Mario Micallef from Warwick University on a book about American mathematician Jesse Douglas and minimal surfaces, and with Professor David Eisenbud from Berkeley on a book about the life and work of English algebraic geometer F.S.Macaulay.