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Science Appreciation Week: History of Mathematical Research

Wed, Nov 14, 2012, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM

LOCATION: Main Campus, Caruthers 1021

Dr. James C. Alexander, Levi Kerr Professor Emeritus at Case Western Reserve University, will discuss mathematical research as a very human activity.

The Gibbs phenomenon is a feature of the behavior of Fourier series of a discontinuous function. The story of its elucidation at the turn of the 20th century illustrates that mathematical research is very much a human activity—including such things as misattribution, disputed claims of priority, rhetorical long knives, vague (and not so vague) insults, uncritical parroting, etc. Josiah Williard Gibbs was only one person in the story. Other luminaries include Albert Michelson, A.E.H. Love, Maxine Bôcher (of the AMS Bôcher prize), Leopold Fejér, Thomas Grönwall, and Henri Poincaré. In this lecture, Dr. Alexander will review this history from the late 1800s through the 1910s, together with sequels and prequels.

About Science Appreciation Week
Entirely student initiated and organized, Science Appreciation Week is being held Nov. 12-16 and hosted by the Science Club. All are invited to these FREE events and pizza will be served. Contact science@marymount.edu for more information.