Henri Picciotto (www.MathEducationPage.org), a math education consultant and frequent guest leader at the AIM Math Teachers’ Circle, received the 2016 George Pólya Award from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). The Pólya Award is given for articles of expository excellence published in The College Mathematics Journal.
Picciotto’s article, titled “Square-Sum Pair Partitions,” was co-written with Gordon Hamilton (MathPickle.com) and Kiran Kedlaya (University of California, San Diego). The article grew out of a blog post Picciotto wrote about the following problem: “Arrange the whole numbers from 1 to 18 into nine pairs, so that the sum of the numbers in each pair is a perfect square.” In subsequent blog posts, Picciotto sought help as he tried to generalize the problem, and discussed his own experience with this problem as evidence that well-targeted hints can be a good thing. The blog posts inspired the resulting paper, which was published in the September 2015 College Mathematics Journal.