The American Mathematical Society has announced that David H. Bailey, Jonathan Borwein, Andrew Mattingly and Glenn Wightwick will receive the 2017 Levi L. Conant Prize. Bailey is a retired senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and a research associate at the University of California, Davis. Borwein (deceased 2 August 2016) was a Laureate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Mattingly is senior information technology architect at IBM Australia. Wightwick is deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president (Research) at the University of Technology Sydney.
This year’s prize was awarded for the recipients’ 2013 article The Computation of Previously Inaccessible Digits of Pi^2 and Catalan’s Constant, which appeared in the August 2013 issue of the Notices of the American Mathematical Society. The AMS summarizes the article as follows:
The article opens with a historical journey, from Archimedes to the computer age, with many interesting anecdotes along the way. It then goes on to discuss the remarkable “BBP” formula, discovered by Bailey together with Peter Borwein and Simon Plouffe. The formula allows one to calculate binary or hexadecimal digits of Pi beginning with the nth digit without first calculating any of the preceding n – 1 digits. The article leads readers through not only an elementary proof of the BBP formula but also the unconventional search that originally led to this formula as well as similar formulas for Catalan’s constant and Pi^2. The article also provides intriguing insights into the age-old question of whether the digits of Pi are truly randomly distributed.
The Conant Prize recognizes the best expository paper published in either the Notices of the AMS or the Bulletin of the AMS in the preceding five years. This year’s prize will be awarded Thursday, January 5, 2017, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Atlanta, Georgia. For additional details, see the announcement on the AMS website.