Seven UO professors among first American Mathematical Society Fellows

EUGENE, Ore. — (Nov. 5, 2012) — Six University of Oregon faculty members in the Department of Mathematics and one in the Department of Computer and Information Science will be inducted in January into the first class of fellows elected to the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Current math faculty members Peter Gilkey and Huaxin Lin, emeritus math professors Charles W. Curtis, William Kantor, Gary Seitz and Lewis Ward, and Eugene Luks, professor emeritus of computer and information science, are part of the inaugural 2013 class of 1,119 fellows.

"The AMS is the organization representing professional research mathematicians in the U.S., and is the premier such organization in the world, said Hal Sadofsky, head of the UO math department. "The fellow list is global and not limited to the United States. This makes it especially gratifying that we've had a good crop of UO mathematicians recognized."

The AMS, founded in 1888, is the world's largest and most influential society dedicated to mathematical research, scholarship and education. The 2013 Fellows of the Rhode Island-based society come from more than 600 institutions around the world.

"We're proud to be well represented by our outstanding faculty members in mathematics and related fields in this inaugural class," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the graduate school at the UO. "The fact that these mathematicians have been recognized by their peers for their contributions to the field is among the highest of honors."

The fellows will be officially recognized during the annual Joint Mathematics Meetings, Jan. 9-12, in San Diego. The full list of fellows is available online.

"Recent advances in mathematics include solutions to age-old problems and key applications useful for society," said AMS President Eric M. Friedlander. "The new AMS Fellows Program recognizes some of the most accomplished mathematicians — AMS members who have contributed to our understanding of deep and important mathematical questions, to applications throughout the scientific world, and to educational excellence."

Gilkey is known for his groundbreaking contributions to study of the heat equation and to differential geometry, which are involved in calculating the distribution of heat or temperature variation in a given region over time. UO students consistently rank Gilkey highly for his classroom teaching.

Lin is one of a very small number of world experts in the classification of C* (C star)-algebras that are involved in research related to functional analysis — a tool used in the theory of unitary representations of locally compact groups and in algebraic formulations of quantum mechanics.

Seitz, retired, remains as one of the principals in the classification of finite simple groups, which stand as an important achievement in 20th century mathematics. His work has included a focus on saturation and tensor product theorems, as well as division algebras and anisotropic groups over number fields.

Kantor, like Seitz remains active since his retirement, is a leader in combinatorial group theory. His research has included work in finite geometries, applications of finite groups to computer science, combinatorics, coding theory and geometry. His research has been cited more than 2,100 times by other scientists.

Curtis was a pioneer in the field of representation theory, which remains an internationally recognized strength of the UO math department. A book he co-authored in 1962, "Representation Theory of Finite Groups and Associative Algebras" long served as the standard text on representation theory.

Ward is recognized internationally for his work in point-set topology and for his expository work in the field. In the classroom, he was a proponent of the "Moore method" in advanced mathematics, which requires the professor to set the questions but on the students to do the proofs and present them in class.

Luks is known for work on the design and analysis of algorithms, with a focus on computational solutions to algebraic problems. His efforts have driven research on solving problems similar to graph isomorphism (determining if two finite graphs are identical or of similar form, shape or structure).

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

Media Contact: Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications, 541-346-3481, jebarlow@uoregon.edu

Gallery

Seven UO professors among first American Mathematical Society Fellows
From left: Eugene Luks, Peter Gilkey, Gary Seitz, Lewis Ward, Charles Curtis, Huaxin Lin and William Kantor