Amy Burton, a senior from Ware Shoals, S.C., received the Walt and Susan Patterson Prize for a poster she presented at the annual Mathematical Association of America (MMA) Southeastern Section meeting March 11 at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.
Burton’s project focused on Leonardo Pisano, also known as Leonardo Fibonacci, a medieval mathematician. “Her research is on Fibonacci and finance, based on Fibonacci’s original book Liber Abaci,” Associate Professor of Mathematics Dr. Art Gorka said. The title Liber Abaci can be translated “Book of Calculations” or, literally, “Book of the Abacus.”
In her research, Burton examined three problems from Chapter 12 of Fibonacci’s Liber Abaci —“On a Soldier Receiving Three Hundred Bezants for His Fief,” “A Man who Travelled through Twelve Cities,” and “On a Man Who Leaves a City with Ten Doors” —and showed the connection between these problems and present-day economic theory.
Burton is completing a double major in mathematics and business administration and is also working on a minor in physics. She is chairman of the Erskine Entertainment Board, has been named to the Dean’s List and Garnet Circle, and is a member of the Athenian Literary Society, the leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa, and the academic honor society Alpha Chi. She also serves as a Resident Assistant.
The Patterson Prize was established in 2006 to encourage undergraduates to participate in the annual meetings of the Southeastern Section of the MAA. According to the MAA website, “In the establishment of this prize, Walt and Susan Patterson have stated that ‘the funding of this prize is given in appreciation of the many fine colleagues who have been so helpful during our more than 25 years of attending Section meetings.’”
Dr. Walter Patterson, who taught mathematics at Lander University following his retirement from the military, has been invited to an end-of-semester dinner with graduating mathematics majors. His late wife, Susan Reinhart Patterson, served for nine years as assistant professor of mathematics at Erskine College. She died in 2009.