Math & Cultural
|Location:||Bechtel Engineering Center: Sibley Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley|
Julia Robinson: Personal Reflections, Her Work and Times
Featuring Dr. Lenore Blum, Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Date: Monday, December 9, 2019
Time: 5:00-6:00 PM (Doors open 4:45 PM)
Location: Bechtel Engineering Center: Sibley Auditorium, University of California, Berkeley (Google Maps)
Cost: Free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.
This event is held in conjunction with the Symposium in Honor of Julia Robinson’s 100th Birthday at MSRI.
The UC Berkeley Department of Mathematics and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) invite you to join Dr. Lenore Blum (Carnegie Mellon University) to celebrate the legacy of UC Berkeley mathematics professor Dr. Julia Robinson (1919-1985), on the 100th anniversary of her birth.
Julia Robinson was a leading mathematical logician of the twentieth century, and notably a first in many ways, including the first woman president of the American Mathematical Society and the first woman mathematician elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Her most famous work, together with Martin Davis and Hilary Putnam, led to Yuri Matiyasevich's solution in the negative of Hilbert’s Tenth Problem, showing that there is no general algorithmic solution for Diophantine equations. She contributed in other topics as well. Her 1948 thesis linked the undecidability of the field of rational numbers to Godel’s proof of undecidability of the ring of integers.
I knew Julia Robinson from 1968, when I arrived as a postdoc at Berkeley to work with her, until her death in 1985. As a grad student at MIT, her beautifully written paper, “The decision problem for fields,” was a constant reference while I was developing a model theory and axioms for differentially closed fields (ch 0). When I arrived in Berkeley, I was shocked that this famous mathematician who signed her papers with the address, Berkeley, California, had never had a regular position at the university. Perhaps because of the times, I got to see Julia in ways that others had not. I will reflect on her work and this perspective.
This talk will be accessible to a general audience as well as of interest to those with an undergraduate level background in mathematics.
Photo credit: George Bergman
Lenore Blum (PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, and Founding Director of Project Olympus, an innovation center that works with faculty and students to bridge the gap between cutting-edge university research/innovation and economy-promoting commercialization for the benefit of our communities. Project Olympus is a good example of Blum’s determination to make a real difference in the academic community and the world beyond.
Lenore is internationally recognized for her work in increasing the participation of girls and women in STEM fields. She was a founder of the Association for Women in Mathematics, and founding Co-Director (with Nancy Kreinberg) of the Math/Science Network and its Expanding Your Horizons conferences for middle- and high-school girls. At CMU, she founded the Women@SCS program and CS4HS, now sponsored worldwide by Google. In 2004, she received the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. In 2009, she received the Carnegie Science Catalyst Award, recognizing her work targeting high-tech talent to promote economic growth in the Pittsburgh region, and increasing the participation of women in computer science.
Lenore has served the professional community in numerous capacities, including as President of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Vice President of the American Mathematical Society, and member of the MIT Mathematics Visiting Committee. She has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, was a Senior Researcher at the International Computer Science Institute, and was Deputy Director of MSRI from 1992-1997. She is currently on the Advisory Board of the new free online WorldQuant University, built on the premise that while talent is universally distributed, opportunity is not.
Lenore’s research, from her early work in model theory and differential fields (logic and algebra) to her more recent work in developing a theory of computation and complexity over the real numbers (mathematics and computer science), has focused on merging seemingly unrelated areas. The latter work, founding a theory of computation and complexity over continuous domains (with Felipe Cucker, Mike Shub and Steve Smale), forms a theoretical basis for scientific computation. On the eve of Alan Turing’s 100th birthday in June 2012, she was plenary speaker at the Turing Centenary Celebration at the University of Cambridge, England, showing how a little known (to logicians and computer scientists!) paper of Turing’s is fundamental to this theory.