Monday, April 13, 2009

Giving the Kleber-Gery Lecture at St. Olaf in Minnesota

This coming Thursday, I will deliver the Kleber-Gery Lecture, which is an endowed lecture, at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. St. Olaf College is a liberal arts college situated on a hill in Northfield, which is 35 miles south of Minneapolis. 40% of the undergraduates concentrate in the natural sciences or mathematics. The topic of my Kleber-Gery Lecture is supply chain vulnerabilities and synergies in a global economy and what 50 years of advances in transportation tell us. My host will be Dr. Steven McKelvey, who is the Chair of the Department of Mathematics at St. Olaf. Dr. McKelvey received his PhD in Applied Mathematics from Brown University and we overlapped for a few years. Both he and I had Professor Stella Dafermos as our doctoral dissertation advisor. Dr. McKelvey's dissertation focused on partitionable variational inequalities with applications to spatial price equilibrium and transportation network equilibrium problems.

Professor McKelvey tells me that the Kleber-Gery lecture was made possible through an endowment given by a student who admired both Professors Kleber and Gery, who are now emeriti professors. One was a mathematician/statistician and the other one an economist. The lecture alternates between the two departments but the invited speaker should be of interest to members and students of both departments. The lecture is open to the public and is meant for a general audience.

My lecture will take place this coming Thursday in the Regents Hall of Science, which is a new building on the St. Olaf campus. I am very honored to have been selected to give this lecture and am delighted that I will be visiting Northfield and St. Olaf later this week. Coincidentally, and interestingly, Massachusetts also has a town named Northfield, which is in western Massachusetts. Northfield, MA is the location of the prep school known as Northfield Mount Hermon, whose head is Mr. Tom Sturtevant.

One of my esteemed colleagues at UMass Amherst, Professor Murugappan Muthukumar, of the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, who also happens to be a neighbor of mine, tells me how important it is to accept invitations to speak at not only universities but also colleges. This past year, among many talks at universities and other venues, I spoke last September at Smith College, an all female college in Northampton, MA, which is in proximity to Amherst, and I had a delightful time. The audience of very bright students and engaged faculty helped to kick off a most interesting academic year!