PASADENA—Dr. Tom Apostol, professor emeritus of mathematics and project director of Project MATHEMATICS! at the California Institute of Technology, was recently named a recipient of the Trevor Evans award by the Mathematical Association of America.
Apostol was awarded the prize in recognition of his article "What Is the Most Surprising Result in Mathematics? (Part II)" (Math Horizons, February 1997).
According to the award citation, the answer to Apostol's question is "the Prime Number Theorem. At least that is the answer so convincingly argued by Tom Apostol in this information-rich yet easily digestible article. The article traces the history of the theorem and shows how the riddle of the distribution of the primes drove Euler, Riemann, and many others to unearth fertile new areas of mathematics. Apostol reminds us that deep ideas can always be made accessible to young minds—you just have to try hard enough."
Apostol received a BS (1944) and an MS (1946) from the University of Washington, and a PhD (1948) from the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a professor at Caltech since 1950.
Established in 1992, the Trevor Evans awards, consisting of a citation and cash prize, are presented by the Mathematical Association of America to authors of exceptional articles that are accessible to undergraduates and published in Math Horizons.
The Mathematical Association of America (MAA) is the world's largest organization devoted to mathematics education at the collegiate level. The nearly 30,000 members of the MAA participate in a variety of activities that foster mathematics education, professional development, student involvement, and public policy. MAA's national focus is complemented by its 29 regional sections—together functioning as an extensive network for the mathematics community.
Founded in 1891, Caltech has an enrollment of some 2,000 students, and a faculty of about 280 professorial faculty and 130 research faculty. The Institute has more than 19,000 alumni. Caltech employs a staff of more than 1,700 on campus and 5,300 at JPL.
Over the years, 26 Nobel Prizes and four Crafoord Prizes have been awarded to faculty members and alumni. Forty-three Caltech faculty members and alumni have received the National Medal of Science; and eight alumni (two of whom are also trustees), two additional trustees, and one faculty member have won the National Medal of Technology. Since 1958, 13 faculty members have received the annual California Scientist of the Year award. On the Caltech faculty there are 75 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and on the faculty and Board of Trustees, 68 members of the National Academy of Sciences and 46 members of the National Academy of Engineering.