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Princeton Professor’s Book Wins 2019 Leroy P. Steele Prize

A Princeton University professor has won the 2019 Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition for his book on “Analytic Combinatorics.”

Professor Robert Sedgewick, who teaches Computer Science at the university, received the American Mathematical Society award with Philippe Flajolet, a French computer scientist who died in 2011.

The society recognized Sedgewick and Flajolet for bringing together their expository and analytical skills to turn the subject into a “fascinating story.”

“Its publication in 2009 was a major event, and as a result, analytic combinatorics is now a thriving sub-discipline of mathematics, as well as a key component of the analysis of algorithms,” the society said.

While expressing his happiness, Sedgewick said that they had earlier planned to apply classical mathematical analysis to the performance of computer programs but ended up using their own approach.

“It is particularly gratifying to see citations of the book by researchers in physics, chemistry, genomics, and many other fields of science, not just mathematicians and computer scientists,” Sedgewick said in a statement.

He further said that he was “heartened by the statement in the citation that any mathematician could use our book to teach an undergraduate course on the subject.”

Sedgewick, who was the founding chair of Princeton’s Department of Computer Science, is best known for his book “Algorithms,” which has been the best selling textbook since the 1980s.

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