It all adds up for math professor
In 1900, David Hilbert challenged the math world to figure out 19th century mathematicians, who claimed to have solved complex math problems but whose proofs were lacking.
On March 8, William Fulton, professor of mathematics and one of the world's leading scholars in algebraic geometry, will discuss his mathematical predecessors in the lecture, "Do We Understand Geometry of the 19th Century?"
Fulton has been named the 2005 Henry Russel Lecturer, one of the most prestigious awards given to U-M faculty. He will speak at 4 p.m. in Rackham Amphitheatre following a short ceremony honoring him and two recipients of the Henry Russel Awardan annual award given to U-M faculty with less than six years of tenure.
The ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public.
Fulton, a U-M professor since 1998, has written 11 books on various math-related topics and is working on at least two more books, some of which deal with the works of 19th century mathematicians.
"They did quite a bit of work in the 19th century," Fulton says. "But it's not at all easy to read what they were doing. They had ways of doing things, but no ways to justify them."
Fulton will receive a $2,000 award as part of the honor.
"Now at the zenith of an extraordinary career, Fulton is the ideal candidate for this great honor," Peter Hinman, former associate chair of the Department of Mathematics, wrote in his nomination letter.
The Henry Russel Award and the Henry Russel Lectureship were established in 1925 with a bequest from the late Henry Russel of Detroit. Russel was a U-M alum and former vice president of the now-defunct Michigan Central Railroad. Recipients are chosen for their achievements in research and teaching.
Two associate professors from the College of Engineering have been chosen for the 2005 Henry Russel AwardDavid T. Blaauw, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Anna Stefanopoulou, associate professor of mechanical engineering. They will receive $1,200 each.
Blaauw, who came to U-M in 2001, is considered a leader in the field of circuit design, colleagues say. He previously worked as an engineering manager for a research group for Motorola Inc. in Austin, Texas.
Blaauw says his first teaching job has allowed him to continue research into deep submicron circuit design, an area that faces many challenges as electronic devices become smaller in size and more powerful. He has worked to finds ways for smaller chipsused in anything from a cell phone to a calculatorto not only be more reliable, but also
"I'm very pleased and happy," he says. "You always view your own work with reserve, but it's nice when other people recognize it."
Blaauw received his bachelor's degree from Duke University and both a master's and doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Stefanopoulou came to U-M in 2000 after working at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to that, she was a technical specialist for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, where many of her techniques for engine efficiency are being implemented.
Her research focuses on application of control theory to automotive systems, particularly the internal combustion engine, and more recently, fuel cell technology. Her work with internal combustion engines explores ways to optimize gas mileage and reduce emissions. She is co-inventor on eight U.S. patents for automotive engine controls.
Stefanopoulou is a graduate of U-M, where she earned master of naval architecture and marine engineering, and master of electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) degrees. She also earned a doctorate in EECS from U-M. She received her undergraduate degree in naval architecture and marine engineering from the National Technical University of Athens.
"It's just really wonderful to be recognized like this," Stefanopoulou says. She adds that since Russel worked in railroads, it seems appropriate that she would be rewarded for her work with another form of transportationautomobiles.