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Hearst gift spurs math center expansion

Donation helps start work on making Berkeley library more than three times its current size
By STAFF WRITER

Friday, April 25, 2003 - BERKELEY -- The library of the Berkeley Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, one of the world's premiere mathematics centers in the world, will be expanded by more than three times its current size thanks to a private donation announced Thursday.

Former San Francisco Examiner publisher and heir William Hearst III, an institute trustee, pumped an undisclosed amount of money into the $1.38 million expansion to get the project started.

The new library, which will be a gathering space for the more than 1,700 researchers who visit the institute every year, will be named after Hearst's mother, Austine McDonnell Hearst.

The institute invites researchers from all over the world to participate in programs and workshops on pressing mathematical problems in research and industry, such as the topology and geometry of real algebraic varieties or mathematical neuroscience.

Michael Singer, acting executive director at the institute, said the new library will improve learning.

"When we run these programs we are at the center of the universe in this field," he said. "The researchers will get together to talk and view videos."

Its original library outgrew its current quarters years ago. Journals, some gifted to the institute and some acquired throughout the years, are literally stacked ceiling high.

"We're bursting at the seams," Singer said.

Hearst is a graduate of Harvard University with a major in mathematics. He works today as a partner in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Claufield & Byers.

The institute is primarily supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and it is affiliated with 71 leading Universities.

The library expansion is part of a $7.3 million campaign for capital improvements.