Ph.D. student Ellen Abrams was awarded the 2018-19 Taylor and Francis Early Career Prize from the British Society for the History of Mathematics for her essay “‘An Inalienable Prerogative of a Liberated Spirit’: Postulating American Mathematics.”
“The writing and research process can be very seclusive, which makes this sort of positive feedback both exciting and encouraging,” said Abrams, a student in the field of science and technology studies. “This award from BSHM is particularly meaningful because it makes me feel tied into a great community of historians of mathematics.”
Abrams’ paper focuses on early-20th-century mathematics in the United States. She argues that “the American study of postulates helped recast the relationship between abstractions and applications, which ultimately allowed for alternate ways of defining and valuing modern mathematics.”
In awarding the prize to Abrams, the judging panel commended her essay for its “combination of strong research and accessible style,” according to the press release.
Winners of the prize receive 1000 British pounds, and the essay is considered for publication in the Society’s journal — “The British Journal for the History of Mathematics.” The winner is also appointed social media coordinator for the organization for two years, is given access to the Society’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and is invited to blog on the history of mathematics. The Society’s mission is to “promote and encourage research in the history of mathematics and the dissemination of the results of such research,” according to its website.