B. Nation, a mathematics professor, has earned a truly international
reputation for the depth of his insight into lattice theory.
Mathematicians gain fame by solving well-known open problems whose
difficulty has left them unresolved for many years, by opening
up important new areas of research, or by breakthrough advances
in well-established areas. Nation has managed to do all three.
He created the field of congruence varieties, now regarded as a
central part of lattice theory and universal algebra. Nation went
on to one of his most famous feats, the solution of the Jónsson
conjecture; he was able to prove the correctness of an elegant
characterization of the class of free lattices. This problem had
defied the efforts of the lattice theory community for approximately
20 years. Another 20-year-old problem, the finite height conjecture,
was his next remarkable achievement. Here Nation astonished the
mathematical world by showing the conjecture, almost universally
believed true, was in fact, false.
Nation’s contributions have had significant impact, not only
in the broad area of mathematics, but also in such areas as theoretical