The Edmund R. Michalik
Distinguished Lecture Series
in the Mathematical Sciences
Edmund R. Michalik has a long history with the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Mathematics. He received his B.A. in Education from Pitt in 1937 and went on to receive his M.S. in Mathematics in 1940. After he graduated, Michalik joined the Navy to serve during WWII. The day after he was discharged in 1946, he met his future wife Martha. He came back to teach at Pitt until 1951. Over the next few years Michalik worked for a variety of organizations, including the Army, Atlantic Research Corporation and the Mathematics Department at the Mellon Institute, where he was the Head of Applied Mathematics. In 1957 he worked for PPG as the Head of the Applied Mathematics, and later as the senior engineer and Head of Computer Research, when he retired in 1980. Throughout this time Michalik volunteered his time and taught as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mathematics. He was dedicated to the study of mathematics.
Prof. Frank Morgan
Soap Bubbles, Tilings, and Other Partitioning Problems
March 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Ballroom B, University Club at the University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: The Ancient Greeks proved that the circle is the least-perimeter way to enclose given area. Similarly the round soap bubble provides the least-perimeter way to enclose a given volume of air, although that was not proved until 1884 by Schwarz. Similarly the double bubble that forms when two soap bubbles come together is the least-perimeter way to enclose and separate two given volumes of air, although that wasn't proved until 2000 by Hutchings, Morgan, Ritoré, and Ros.
Lord Kelvin sought the least-perimeter way to divide all of space into unit volumes, and his conjecture stood for 100 years, until Weaire and Phelan found a better way in 1994. Whether their new candidate is best remains open today.
Even the least-perimeter way to divide the plane into unit areas, using the bees' hexagonal honeycomb tiling, though conjectured by the Ancient Greeks, was not proven until 1999 by Hales. The most efficient tiling by pentagons remains open.
In many simple nonEuclidean possible
universes, even the ideal shape for a single soap bubble remains open.
Prof. Shing-Tung Yau
Geometry: from Riemann to Einstein and on to String Theory"
October 5, 2012
Shing-Tung Yau has made fundamental contributions to differential geometry which have influenced a wide range of scientific disciplines, including astronomy and theoretical physics. Yau’s first major contribution to differential geometry was his proof of the Calabi conjecture, which concerns how volume and distance can be measured not in four, but in five or more dimensions. In 1979 Yau and Richard Schoen proved Einstein’s positive mass conjecture by applying methods devised by Yau. The proof was based on their work with minimal surfaces. In 1982 Yau was awarded the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics, and in 1994 he shared with Simon Donaldson of Oxford University the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Society, in recognition of his “development of nonlinear techniques in differential geometry leading to the solution of several outstanding problems.” In 2010 Yau published the book The Shape of Inner Space.
Sir Roger Penrose
"Can We See Through the Big Bang into Another World?"
January 24, 2011
Prof. Sir Roger Penrose has made many contributions to the fields of Mathematics and Physics. He proved that singularities (such as black holes) could be formed from the gravitational collapse of immense, dying stars and invented spin networks which later came to form the geometry of spacetime in loop quantum gravity. Prof. Penrose is also well known for his 1974 discovery of Penrose tilings, which are formed from two tiles that can only tile the plane non-periodically, and are the first tilings to exhibit fivefold rotational symmetry. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including a Royal Medal from the Royal Society and a Wolf Prize, which he shares with Stephen Hawking. Prof. Penrose’s book "The Road to Reality" gives a comprehensive guide to the laws of physics. His latest book is "Cycles of Time." More>
Prof. Luis A. Caffarelli
"Non linear, geometric homogenization"
March 26, 2010
Professor Luis A. Caffarelli holds the Sid Richardson Chair in Mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin. The focus of his research has been elliptic nonlinear partial differential equations and their applications. Some of his most significant contributions are the regularity of free boundary problems and solutions to nonlinear
elliptic equations, optimal transportation theory and, more recently, results in the theory of homogenization.
Professor Caffarelli is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded Doctor Honoris Causa from l'Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Universidad de la Plata in Argentina. He received the Bôcher Prize in 1984 and the prestigious Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2005. He was recently awarded the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Mathematics. More>
Tony F. Chan
"Images, PDEs and Wavelets"
March 20, 2009
Dr. Chan's research interests include mathematical image processing and computer vision, VLSI physical design and computational brain mapping. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Chan has published over 200 refereed papers and has mentored over 25 PhD students and 15 postdoctoral fellows. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at UCLA, established to promote collaborations between the mathematical sciences and the general scientific and engineering disciplines. Dr. Chan currently serves as Assistant Director of the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the National Science Foundation. The MPS is the largest Directorate at NSF with an annual budget of just over $1B. More>
Neil J. A. Sloane
"The Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences: Solved and Unsolved Problems"
April 4, 2008
Neil Sloane is a Fellow at AT&T Shannon Labs in Florham Park, NJ.
is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an IEEE Fellow, and recipient of the IEEE Hamming Medal and the MAA Chauvenet Prize. He is the author or co-author of numerous books, including “The Theory of Error-Correcting Codes” (with F. J. MacWilliams) and “Sphere Packing, Lattices and Groups” (with J. H. Conway). More>
Neil J. A. Sloane's Home Page>
Dr. Cathleen Morawetz
"Collisionless Shocks in Space"
April 6, 2007
Professor Cathleen Morawetz is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and National Academy of Sciences. She was Director of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and the President of the American Mathematical Society. She receieved the National Medal of Science in 1998, and the Lifetime Acheivement award from the Americam Mathematical Society in 2004. More>
Robert F. Engle, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate
"Global Volatility: its Measurement, Interpretation and Causes"
April 7, 2006
Dr. Engle was awarded the 2003 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for "methods of analyzing economic time series with time-varying volatility (ARCH)."
Dr. Engle received his Ph.D. in Econmincs from Cornell University in 1966. His work is distinguished by exceptional creativity in the empirical modeling of dynamic economic and financial phenomena. He is a renowned expert in Financial Economics, Time Series Analysis, Volitility and Risk Management and Empirical Market Microstructure. More>
Robert F. Engle's Home Page>