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Maseeh Lecture 2010

The 2010 Fariborz Maseeh Lecture in Mathematical Sciences*

"Mathematics that swings: the math
behind golf"

Dr. Douglas N. Arnold

McKnight Presidential Professor of Mathematics
School of Mathematics, University of Minnesota
President, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)



Place & Time: Smith Memorial Student Union 327-328, 5:30 PM, May 11, 2010

Abstract: Mathematics is everywhere, and the golf course is no exception. Many aspects of the game of golf can be illuminated or improved through mathematical modeling and analysis. We will discuss a few examples, employing mathematics ranging from simple high school algebra to computational techniques at the frontiers of contemporary research.

Bio: Dr. Douglas N. Arnold is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He is a research mathematician and educator with a strong interest in mathematics in interdisciplinary research and in the public understanding of the role of mathematics. For 2009 and 2010, Prof. Arnold serves as the President of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. SIAM is the world's leading professional organization for applied mathematicians and computational scientists. From 2001 through 2008, he was director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). The IMA is a partnership of the National Science Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and a consortium of participating universities, laboratories, and corporations. Under Arnold's leadership it grew to be the largest mathematics research investment in the history of the National Science Foundation.

Prof. Arnold's research interests include numerical analysis, partial differential equations, mechanics, and in particular, the interplay between these fields. Much of his work concerns the computer solution of partial differential equations, focusing on the development and understanding of methods for simulating physical phenomena ranging from the deformation of elastic plates and shells to the collision of black holes. Around 2002 he initiated the finite element exterior calculus, a new approach to the stability of finite element methods based on geometric and topological structure underlying the relevant partial differential equations. The development of the finite element exterior calculus is a major direction of his current research work.

Prof. Arnold was awarded inn 1991 the first International Giovanni Sacchi Landriani Prize by the Lombardy Institute Academy of Arts and Letters in 1991 for "outstanding contributions to the field of numerical methods for partial differential equations." He is highly sought after as a speaker and has delivered plenary lectures at the International Congress of Mathematicians (Beijing 2002) and the Joint Mathematics Meetings (Washington, DC, 2009). In 2008 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2009 he was elected a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

More information about Prof. Arnold can be found at

* Sponsored by a grant from The Massiah Foundation