Maseeh Lecture 2008
Portland State University
Department of Mathematics & Statistics
The Fariborz Maseeh Lecture in Mathematical Sciences*
Sir John Ball
Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the
Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford
"Poincaré, Perelman and Prizes"
Abstract: In August 2006 the Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman refused to accept the Fields Medal awarded to him by the International Mathematical Union at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid. He had been awarded the Medal, regarded as the equivalent of a Nobel Prize, because of his ground-breaking work on the Poincaré conjecture, one of the most famous open problems of mathematics. The lecture will describe the conjecture, the unusual events surrounding its proof, and how this unfolding story of mathematics and personalities attracted unprecedented worldwide media attention.
Bio: Sir John Ball is Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford and Fellow of The Queen's College. He has held Visiting Professorships at the University of California at Berkeley; the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris; the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore; the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; and at the University of Montpellier II.
Professor Ball is a Fellow of the Royal Society. Other awards include the 1990 Keith Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the 1995 Naylor Prize in Applied Mathematics of the London Mathematical Society, the 1999 Theodore Von Karman Prize of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the 2003 David Crighton Medal of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications and the London Mathematical Society . He was President of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society from 1989-90, and of the London Mathematical Society from 1996-1998. He was President of the International Mathematical Union from 2002-2006, and chaired the Fields Medal Committee which awarded Perelman the Fields Medal in 2006.
Professor Ball's main research areas lie in elasticity theory, the calculus of variations, and infinite-dimensional dynamical systems. He is especially interested in the mathematics of microstructure arising from phase transformations in solids, where the problem of predicting microstructure morphology is related to deep unsolved questions of the multi-dimensional calculus of variations.
May 15, 2008
Multnomah Falls Room,
310 SW Lincoln Street, Portland
* Sponsored by a grant from The Massiah Foundation