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MAA Distinguished Lecture Series

The MAA sponsors a variety of public lectures, many of them held at the MAA Carriage House. Whether a Gathering 4 Gardner event or part of the NSA-funded Distinguished Lecture Series, the lectures feature some of the foremost experts within the field of mathematics, known for their ability to make current mathematical ideas accessible to non-specialists. The presentations provide a fabulous and fun learning opportunity for both professionals and students, as well as anyone interested in learning more about current trends in mathematics and the relationship between mathematics and broader scientific, engineering and technological endeavors.

Abstracts and speaker biographies will appear on this page as lectures are added to the events calendar.

Slidecasts and video clips of MAA public lectures are available here.

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Doron Zeilberger, Rutgers University

Abstract: I will present five combinatorial gems where alternating paths play a major role.

MAA Distinguished Lecture: Doron Zeilberger

Biography: Doron Zeilberger is a Board of Governors Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University. He is widely known for the development of "WZ" (Wilf-Zeilberger) Theory and Zeilberger's algorithm that are used extensively in modern computer algebra software. Zeilberger was the first to prove the elusive result in combinatorial theory known as the alternating sign matrix conjecture. Among his honors are: the MAA Lester R. Ford award for a paper in the American Mathematical Monthly; the American Mathematical Society Steele Prize for seminal contributions to research (co-recipient with Herb Wilf); the Institute of Combinatorics and Its Applications Euler Medal for "Outstanding Contributions to Combinatorics;" the Laura H. Carnell Professorship at Temple University; in the spirit of Paul Erdos, challenge cash prizes from Richard Askey, George Andrews and Ron Graham; and Persi Diaconis's favorite living mathematician!

The citaton for the Euler Medal describes him as "a champion of using computers and algorithms to do mathematics quickly and efficiently." In his opinion "programming is even more fun than proving, and, more importantly it gives as much, if not more, insight and understanding."

More about Doron Zeilberger

Larry Schumaker, Vanderbilt University

Abstract: I will describe the explosive development of splines and their application over the past 40 years. Splines are piecewise polynomials which are extremely useful in approximation theory and numerical analysis for fitting and approximating functions. They have also found applications in many areas of business, engineering, medicine, science, and elsewhere. I will discuss some of these applications. The talk will be quite general with little mathematical background needed.

Biography: Dr. Schumaker is a Stevenson Professor at Vanderbilt University. His research areas include approximation theory and computer aided graphical design. He is an author or co-author of 37 books or proceedings. He has been the advisor of 21 Ph.D. students. Dr. Schumaker has won the Alexander von Humboldt Prize and he has been elected a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.