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A New Colloquium: Applied Mathematics and Computational Science

A new colloquium series on Applied Mathematics and Computational Science—supported by the Provost along with SAS, SOM, and SEAS—begins September 9 at 2 p.m. in A8 DRL. The first speaker, Dr. Peter Lax, from the Courant Institute at NYU, will discuss Oscillation and Overshoot in the Numerical Solution of Partial Differential Equations. Dr. Lax is considered to be one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century.

The talks are being presented by the Working Group in Applied Mathematics and Computational Science (WGAMCS) —faculty and students from a wide variety of disciplines, who share a common interest in fostering and understanding the applications of mathematics to problems in empirical science. The group is working to provide a more coherent structure for education and research in applied math and computational science at Penn, eventually leading to the formation of a graduate group in this field.

The WGAMCS provides a forum for researchers from fields that involve mathematics in a significant way to meet and discuss problems of common interest. Mathematics is not just the language of science, it also provides the most comprehensive and incisive tools for modeling, analysis and quantification in empirical science and engineering. The most important developments in mathematics have grown out of the demands of empirical science and the natural human imperative to efficiently organize knowledge, said Dr. Charles L. Epstein, Francis J. Carey Term Professor of Mathematics. For a list of the affiliated faculty, see www.amcs.upenn.edu/affiliated.html.

They will hold two series of talks: a monthly colloquium series and a weekly seminar series. Starting this fall, the colloquium series is being supported, in part, by a grant from the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Seminar Fund, as well as by contributions from departments in SAS, SEAS, and SOM.  A tentative schedule can be found at www.amcs.upenn.edu/.

The colloquium aims to bring important ideas from applied mathematics to a large, technically sophisticated audience. The speakers are all world-renowned experts in various branches of applied mathematics, though not all are mathematicians, per se. The speakers range in age from the mid 30s to almost 80, and come from all parts of the country.

Dr. Lax is the recipient of the Abel Prize in mathematics. This is an award intended to provide a “Nobel” prize in mathematics. It is awarded by the Norwegian Academy and was worth $980,000, this year.  Dr. Lax is one of the great figures of both pure and applied math. He started out, at age 18, working at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project, and went on to make fundamental, and in some cases seminal, contributions to a vast array of subjects.

On October 7, Dr. Stephen Smale, a Fields Medalist, who has made fundamental contributions in fields from topology, to dynamical systems and the analysis of computer algorithms, will speak at 2 p.m.

The monthly series continues on November 4 with Dr. Yannis Kevrekidis, a chemical engineer, working at the cutting edge of mathematical modeling in complex biological systems.

The weekly seminar, will feature somewhat more technical talks, also on applications of mathematics in empirical science. Both the colloquium and seminar meet on Fridays at 2 p.m. For up-to-date information visit: www.amcs.upenn.edu/Seminar.html.



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 2, September 6, 2005


September 6, 2005
Volume 52 Number 2


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