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Bentley University Mathematical Sciences Professor Nathan Carter Wins Mathematical Association of America Beckenbach Book Prize


Bentley University Mathematical Sciences Professor Nathan Carter Wins Mathematical Association of America Beckenbach Book Prize


Research, News

Nathan Carter, associate professor of mathematical sciences at Bentley University, is a winner of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Beckenbach Book Prize for Visual Group Theory (Mathematical Association of America, 2009). A $2,500 prize will be presented on January 5, 2012, at the 2012 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

The Beckenbach Book Prize is awarded to an author of a distinguished, innovative book published by the MAA, but not awarded  on a regularly scheduled basis.  It is given only when a book is judged to be truly outstanding. Carter receives the award along with American University’s Dan Kalman (Uncommon Mathematical Excursions: Polynomia and Related Realms).

“Knowing those who have received this award in the past, I am surprised and honored to join their company,” Carter says. “I'm grateful to the MAA for this honor, and for supporting me by publishing the book.”

Visual Group Theory covers a typical undergraduate course in group theory from a thoroughly visual perspective, versus the majority of textbooks that take a technical approach.

“Mathematics is a technical subject, so the precise (but sometimes difficult) notation used to write and convey it is both necessary and useful,” Carter notes. “However, it shouldn't be the only medium we use to communicate mathematical ideas. Just as there are graphs and plots in calculus and statistics to help us get some concrete intuition for abstract ideas, we can do the same  in higher-level mathematics as well.”

According to Carter, group theory is a subject in which visualization is possible but rarely used due to the degree of difficulty of creating diagrams by hand.

“The software I wrote and the subsequent book fill the need for visual media in the subject of group theory, a topic almost all students majoring in pure mathematics spend one or two semesters studying,” Carter says.

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit


by Meredith Mason  September 13, 2016

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Colleges 2017, Bentley University is ranked #3 among “Best Regional Universities - North.” 



The Chronicle of Higher Education | October 16, 2016