Santa Rosa Junior College math instructor John Martin has won the George Polya Award given annually by the Mathematical Association of America. Martin was honored by the SRJC board of trustees on Tuesday.

Martin was honored for his article “The Helen of Geometry” which was published in the January 2010 issue of The College Mathematics Journal.

From the editors of that periodical: “The cycloid has been called the Helen of Geometry, not only because of its beautiful properties, but also because of the quarrels it provoked between famous mathematicians in the 17th century. This article surveys the history of the cycloid and its importance in the development of the calculus.”

Whew.

All Faculty Association (and math instructor) president Terry Shell said the award is equivalent of  a pitcher winning the Cy Young.