A Centennial Celebration or . . .

250 Years of Math at Penn


Centenary Celebration, October 30

Morning Roundtable (200 College Hall)

Mathematics and Science at the turn of the 21st century--their promise, problems, and interconnections

  • 10-10:10 a.m. Welcome and Introduction of Symposium Speakers
  • 10:10-10:30 a.m. Remarks about Mathematical Proof and Major Changes to be Expected in Applied Mathematics; Cathleen Synge Morawetz, Professor Emerita, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University
  • 10:30-10:50 a.m. Biomedical Research at the Millennium; Bert Vogelstein, M.D., Clayton Professor of Oncology, Director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, and Investigator in the Howard Hughes Institute
  • 11:10-11:30 a.m. Paradoxes for the Twenty First Century; George E. Andrews, Evan Pugh Professor of Mathematics and Chairman Department of Mathematics, Penn State University
  • 11:30-12:30 p.m. Mathematics as a Tool for Understanding Nature; Freeman J. Dyson, Emeritus Professor, School of Natural Science, Institute for Advanced Study

Afternoon Program (200 College Hall)

  • 3-3:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony

In honor of their remarkable achievements, Mathematics Department Chair Dennis DeTurck will present George E. Andrews, GR'64, Freeman J. Dyson, Cathleen Synge Morawetz and Bert Vogelstein, M.D., C'70, with the Department of Mathematics Centennial Award.

President Judith Rodin will award the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement to Freeman J. Dyson and Cathleen Synge Morawetz.

Dr. Andrews is one of the foremost authorities on the work of turn-of-the-century mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan, and is active in addressing the question surrounding math and science education at all levels. Dr. Dyson is a mathematician and physicist, known for his work in the quantum theory of of electric and magnetic phenomena, and for his speculative work on the possibility of extraterrestrial civilations. Dr. Morawetz is an applied mathematician who has advanced airfoil design for supersonic aircraft through her work on partial differential equations and their applications to transonic flow. Dr. Vogelstein has advanced the understanding of the genetic basis of colon cancer by discovering the pattern of the several genetic mutations leading from the formation of polyps to the onset of cancer of the colon.

  • 3:30-4 p.m. Penn Glee Club
  • 4:10-5:10 p.m. Address by Freeman Dyson: Gravity is Cool: or Why Our Universe is Hospitalbe to Life

Reception and Banquet

(reservations required) Call (215) 898-8627 or centennial@math.upenn.edu

  • 6-7 p.m. Reception, Inn at Penn
  • 7-10:30 p.m. Banquet Dinner, Inn at Penn 

  The Penn Faculty of Arts, on June 22, 1859. Upper left to right: John F.Frazer, Henry Vethake, E. Otis Kendall. Lower left to right: Francis A. Jackson, Henry Coppée, George Allen.  


Claytor's Curves, (left) created by William Waldron Schiefflin Claytor (Ph.D. 1933), the third African-American to receive a Ph.D. in Mathematics.

Edwin Schofield Crawley,(right) the 1899 chairman of the newly-formed Department of Mathematics

Dennis M. DeTurck, (below, left) the current chair of the Mathematics Department, and a curve (below, right) created using the Maple programming language, currently used by math students.


This timeline of math at Penn was compiled by Dr. Frank Warner and Dr. Stephen Shatz. A large illustrated version of it will be on display at the centennial celebration and afterwards in the math department. More information on the history of Penn's math department is available at www.math.upenn.edu/100/Centennial.html, and in a booklet which will be distibuted at the celebration, and mailed to anyone who graduated from Penn with a mathematics degree.

  • November 13, 1749--Trustees constituted for the Academy and Charitable School.
  • 1750--First location is at Fourth & Arch.
  • December 17, 1750--Mr. Theophilus Grew appointed first Master in Mathematics.
  • July 13, 1753--Trustees receive Charter for the Academy.
  • June 10, 1755--Trustees receive Charter for the College which can grant degrees.
  • July 11, 1755--Theophilus Grew appointed Mathematical Professor in the College.
  • 1761--The Rev. Hugh Williamson appointed Professor of Mathematics (later delegate to Constitutional Convention and member of first Congress).
  • 1773--James Cannon appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1782--Robert Patterson appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1802--University moves to Ninth Street.
  • 1814--Robert Maskell Patterson (son of Robert Patterson) appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1827--Robert Adrain appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1834--Edward Henry Courtenay appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • Spring 1834--Many Faculty meetings devoted to discipline problems.
  • 1836--Henry Vethake appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1855--Ezra Otis Kendall appointed the Professor of Mathematics.
  • 1872--University moves to West Philadelphia--Department located in new College Hall.
  • March, 1881--Trustees approve creation of Ph.D.
  • March 18, 1881--Thomas A. Scott letter to Trustees regarding chair in mathematics.
  • June 7, 1881--Thomas A. Scott Professorship established--Ezra Otis Kendall appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • November 1882--First faculty appointed to the Faculty of Philosophy.
  • December 8, 1882--First meeting of the Faculty of Philosophy--regarded as the beginning of the Graduate School.
  • 1892--Edwin S. Crawley receives first Penn Ph.D. in Mathematics.
  • 1892--Class of 1880 endows freshman prize exam in mathematics--First prize $50 (tuition $160 at the time).
  • December 3, 1895--Professor Doolittle appointed Professor of Mathematics and Flower Professor of Astronomy.
  • 1896--Ezra Otis Kendall retires but retains Scott chair.
  • January 10, 1899--Death of Ezra Otis Kendall.
  • 1899--Professor Crawley appointed to the Scott Chair. Professor Doolittle drops the title of Professor of Mathematics. Mathematics now independent of other disciplines. This is the beginning of The Department of Mathematics at Penn.
  • 1901--Roxana Hayward Vivian is first woman Ph.D. in Mathematics at Penn.
  • 1914--Major Subjects, including Mathematics, were introduced in the College's "New Curriculum."
  • 1928--Dudley Weldon Woodard is first African-American mathematician to receive a Ph.D. at Penn-- second in the U.S.
  • 1933--William Claytor is second African-American mathematician to receive a Ph.D. at Penn--third in the U.S.
  • 1933--George Hervey Hallett becomes the third holder of the Scott Chair.
  • 1934--Hans A. Rademacher emigrates to US and joins Penn's faculty.
  • 1941--John Robert Kline appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • 1954--Department moves from College Hall to the David Rittenhouse Laboratory.
  • 1956--Hans Adolph Rademacher appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • 1958--100th Ph.D. in Mathematics.
  • 1962--Oscar Goldman appointed Department Chair by Provost David Goddard.
  • 1964--Richard V. Kadison appointed to the Kuemmerle Chair.
  • 1967--Eugenio Calabi appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • 1973--200th Ph.D. in Mathematics.
  • 1978--Rademacher Lecture Series begins with S.S. Chern, M. Schutzenberger, I.M. Singer, and John T. Tate.
  • 1985--Penn initiates East Regional Geometry Festival.
  • 1988--Julius Shaneson appointed to first Francis J. Carey Term Chair in Mathematics.
  • December 1988--Penn hosts first major US-USSR mathematics conference in modern times.
  • 1988--Marcelo Llarull appointed first Rademacher Instructor.
  • 1990--Fan Chung awarded MAA Allendoerfer Award for mathematical exposition.
  • 1991--Eugenio Calabi awarded AMS Steele Prize for fundamental work on differential geometry.
  • 1994--Shmuel Weinberger appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • 1994--Fan Chung appointed to the Class of 1965 Term Chair.
  • 1995--Julius Shaneson appointed to the Class of 1939 Professorship.
  • 1995--Dennis DeTurck appointed to the Davidson Kennedy Professorship in the College.
  • 1995--David Harbater appointed to the Robert I. Williams Term Chair.
  • 1995--David Harbater awarded AMS Cole Prize for solution of Abhyankar's Conjecture.
  • 1996--Herbert Wilf awarded MAA Franklin and Deborah Haimo Award for excellence in university teaching.
  • 1996--300th Ph.D. in Mathematics.
  • 1996--David Harbater appointed to the E. Otis Kendall Professorship.
  • 1997--Alexandre Kirillov appointed to a Francis J. Carey Term Chair.
  • 1998--Herbert Wilf appointed to the Scott Chair.
  • 1998--Herbert Wilf awarded AMS Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research.
  • 1998--Percy Deift awarded SIAM's Pólya Prize.
  • 1999--Richard V. Kadison awarded AMS Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
  • 1999--Jerry L. Kazdan awarded MAA Lester R. Ford Award for mathematical exposition.
  • 2000--Percy Deift appointed to a Francis J. Carey Term Chair.


Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 9, October 26, 1999