The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has awarded the 2005 Albert Leon Whiteman Memorial Prize to Harold M. Edwards, a professor emeritus at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. The award, given every four years, is one of the highest distinctions recognizing contributions to the history of mathematics.

The prize will be awarded on Thursday, January 6, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Providence, RI-based organization recognized Edwards for “his many publications over several decades that have fostered a greater understanding and appreciation of the history of mathematics, especially the theory of algebraic numbers.” Edwards has been at NYU since 1966.

“For four decades, continuing past his recent official retirement, Harold (Ed) Edwards has combined excellence in scholarship and devotion to education, epitomizing what a research university is meant to be,” said Charles Newman, director of the Courant Institute. “All of us at the Courant Institute salute Ed on this well-deserved honor.”

Edwards’ work is grounded in two areas: mathematical expositions organized in the historical order of development in order to convey a genetic understanding of the relevant mathematical theory and traditional scholarly historical papers. AMS noted that “both forms combine clear and careful historical scholarship with an attendant mastery of the underlying mathematics and together constitute a major contribution to our understanding of the history of mathematics in the spirit of the guidelines set for the Whiteman Prize.”

Edwards’ many books include Essays in Constructive Mathematics (2004), Advanced Calculus (1969, 1980, 1993), Riemann’s Zeta Function (1974, 2001), Fermat’s Last Theorem (1977), Galois Theory (1984), Divisor Theory (1990), and Linear Algebra (1995).

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