*The Lonseth lecture series was established in 1985 to honor Arvid T. Lonseth, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Mathematics Department at Oregon State University. Professor Lonseth was a superb and devoted scholar and teacher of mathematics. The lecture series is a continuing testimony to Arvid's strong interest and commitment to the mathematical education of students, especially undergraduates. He earned his B.A. in mathematics at Stanford University and his doctorate under Hans Lewy at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1939. His research was principally in integral equations, the calculus of variations, and computational methods. He joined the OSU Mathematics Department in 1948 at the invitation of department chair W. E. Milne and was promoted to full professor three years later. During his tenure as department chair from academic year 1954-55 to March of 1968, Professor Lonseth set the department firmly and successfully on its present course: a department with wide expertise, with a special interest in mathematics of the world around us, and with a dedication to undergraduate education. He retired in 1978, but his interest in teaching
and learning never waned. Professor Lonseth attended virtually all of the Lonseth lectures until his death in April 2002. He always viewed video tapes of the lectures he could not attend due to poor health. These lectures remind us of our debt to Arvid.*

Date/Time | Location | Guest Speaker | Local Speaker | Institution | Event Type | Event Name | Abstract |
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

05/01/1990 | Serg Lang | Yale University | Lonseth Lecture | A B C Conjecture | Recently, there have been some deep new insights into classical old problems, like Fermat's last theorem. Some of these insights can be expressed in terms of fairly elementary mathematics involving polynomials and numbers. I will describe some of these insights. | ||

05/11/2004 | Steven G. Krantz | Washington University in St. Louis | Lonseth Lecture | A Matter of Gravity | It is a standard topic in any multivariable calculus course to develop the concept of "centroid" or "center of gravity", and to teach the student to calculate this center. Rarely is there any further investigation into properties of the center of gravity. Nonetheless, there are interesting... | ||

05/17/1988 | G. D. Chakerian | University of California-Davis | Lonseth Lecture | Cantor Dust Under a Binary Tree | This lecture will deal with some of the more paradoxical properties of the real numbers, from a geometrical point of view. In particular, the famous Cantor ternary set will be used to illustrate the idea of a fractal, a set of fractional dimension. | ||

05/19/1987 | Gilbert Strang | MIT | Lonseth Lecture | Chaos: Strange Attractors and Fractuals | Professor Strang is noted for his illuminating lectures on a wide variety of mathematical topics. His talk should appeal to students and former students of mathematics and also to teachers of mathematics from high school through graduate school. | ||

05/02/2006 | LaSells Stewart Center | Professor Peter Lax | Lonseth Lecture | Degenerate Symmetric Matrices | Abstract: If a finite group G acts on a set X in such a way that each non-trivial element of G fixes a unique point, then they all must fix the same point (i.e. G has a global fixed point which is necessarily unique). We will cover the proof of this result as given in a paper by Max Forester and... | ||

04/27/1993 | Mary Ellen Rudin | University of Wisconsin-Madison | Lonseth Lecture | Dimension | When dealing with topological spaces which are note necessarily metric, we run into a variety of questions. We will discuss several rather nice classes of such spaces as well as some conjectures. We will prove, with the aid of one rather special example, that three of the conjectures are false. | ||

05/21/2013 | LaSells Stewart Center C&E Hall | Dr. Paul Zorn | St. Olaf College | Lonseth Lecture | Extreme Calculus | There is more to elementary calculus than may first meet the eye, even to those of us who have learned (or taught it) at various levels. With appropriate help from graphical, numerical, and algebraic computing, well-worn calculus techniques and topics---polynomials, optimization, root-finding,... | |

05/24/2011 | LaSells Stewart Center | J. Michael Shaughnessy | Portland State University | Lonseth Lecture | Favorite Chance Encounters | Dr. Shaughnessy has taught mathematics content courses and directed professional development experiences for mathematics teachers at all levels, K–12, as well as community college and university. He has authored or coauthored more than 60 articles, books, and book chapters on issues in the teaching... | |

05/14/1991 | Ian Stewart | University of Warwick | Lonseth Lecture | Four Encounters With Sierpinski's Gasket | Sierpinski's gasket is a fractal, obtained by repeatedly deleting the middle section of a triangle. It shows up in a number of different areas of mathematics, with surprising cross-connections. The talk will describe four occurrences of the gasket: 1. What Sierpinski originally invented it for; 2... | ||

05/25/1995 | Ronald L. Graham | AT&T Bell Labs | Lonseth Lecture | Mathematics and Computers: Recent Successes and insurmountable Challenges | There is no question that the recent advent of the modern computer has had a dramatic impact on what mathematicians do and how they do it. However, there is increasing belief that many apparently simple problems may in fact be forever beyond any conceivable computer approach. In the talk I will... | ||

05/24/1994 | Tsit-Yuen Lam | University of California-Berkeley | Lonseth Lecture | Mistakes We all Made: How Error-Free is Mathematics? | Mathematics, as a subject, derives its beauty from its internal consistency and sound logic. It is thus axiomatic that the proofs and argumentations used in the development of mathematics be absolutely accurate and error-free. Yet the history of mathematics is replete with instances of false starts... | ||

05/06/1997 | Margaret Wright | Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies | Lonseth Lecture | Model, Speed up, Optimize, Remodel: Fun and Profit for Mathematics and It's Friends | Mathematics plays a major role in formulating and modeling real-world problems--but models are never right the first time. So mathematics also enters in speeding up complicated calculations, optimizing whatever the current model may be, figuring out its defects, and then producing a more realistic... | ||

05/19/2009 | LaSells Stewart Center | Robert Daverman | University of Tennessee, A.M.S. | Lonseth Lecture | Mysteries of the Cantor Set | The Cantor set exhibits captivating and, occasionally, bizarre phenomena in diverse branches of mathematics. And it is a fundamentally important object -- anyone who completely understands the Cantor set is assured of mathematical success. This talk will describe some beguiling Cantor set... | |

05/19/1992 | John Horton Conway | Princeton University | Lonseth Lecture | On the Shape of Things | Conway is recognized for his studies in combinatorics and group theory, which is the branch of algebra that studies the properties of symmetries of figures, and how you can go from one symmetry to another. Conway has made some major an fundamental discoveries in this field. | ||

05/12/2015 | LaSells Stewart Center C&E Hall | Harold R. Parks | Oregon State University | Lonseth Lecture | Plateau's Problem and the Geometry of Soap Films | By dipping a wire frame in a soap solution, one can often produce a soap film spanning the frame. That soap film will have the smallest area among nearby surfaces that also span the frame. The mathematical model for this type of surface is a minimal surface. Plateau's problem is to show the... | |

05/15/2012 | LaSells Stewart Center C&E Hall | David Bressoud | Macalester College | Lonseth Lecture | Proofs and Confirmations: The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture | 2012 Lonseth Lecture Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 [awards ceremony 3:30 pm, lecture 4:00 pm, reception following] Proofs and Confirmations: The Story of the Alternating Sign Matrix Conjecture Abstract: What is the role of proof in mathematics? Most of the time, the search for proof is less about... | |

05/16/1989 | George Andrews | Pennsylvania State University | Lonseth Lecture | Ramanujan's Lost Notebook | The "Lost" Notebook provides us with a record (probably incomplete) of Ramanujan's discoveries during the last year of his life. A number of his formulas from this document have been proved and analyzed; however, many remain unproved and totally mysterious. We shall survey some of the topics... | ||

05/28/2002 | Colin Adams | Williams College | Lonseth Lecture | Real Estate in Hyperbolic Space: Investment Opportunities for the New Millennium | Have you found the new investment climate a bit on the chilly side? Nervous about stocks, bonds and mutual funds? Afraid of risky investments in Euclidean space? Then real estate in hyperbolic space is for you. We will discuss the enormous potential of this new investment opportunity and describe... | ||

05/20/1986 | Ivan Niven | University of Oregon | Lonseth Lecture | Some Surprising Results in Elementary Mathematics | Although the background assumed is modest, the results are ingenious and not widely known. Professor Niven is noted for his lucid presentations of mathematical ideas. His lecture should appeal to students and former students of mathematics and also to teachers of mathematics from high school... | ||

05/20/2014 | LaSells Stewart Center C&E Hall | Dr. David Pengelley | New Mexico State University | Lonseth Lecture | Sophie Germain’s grand plan to prove Fermat’s Last Theorem | Sophie Germain (1776-1831) is the first woman known to have created important new mathematical research. She is best known in number theory for the first general result aimed at proving Fermat's Last Theorem, finally proven only 20 years ago. However, unpublished manuscripts, and a letter to Gauss... | |

05/16/2000 | Constance Reid | Noted Mathematical Historian and Biographer | Lonseth Lecture | The Improbable Life of Richard Courant | Almost thirty years after his death, Richard Courant remains a highly controversial figure in mathematics, complex and contradictory; but the message he emphasized throughout his long career was one that he had absorbed in his youth in Gottingen from David Hilbert and Felix Klein--the underlying... | ||

04/29/2003 | John H. Ewing | Executive Director American Mathematical Society | Lonseth Lecture | The Mathematics Inside Your Computer | Computers don't operate using only bits and bytes to perform logic and arithmetic. They use sophisticated mathematics to perform many of the routine tasks you take for granted every time you turn on your machine. This talk will survey a small sample of that sophisticated mathematics, from an... | ||

05/18/1999 | Kenneth A. Ross | University of Oregon | Lonseth Lecture | The Mathematics of Card Shuffling | How many times do you have to shuffle a deck of cards before it is well mixed? What do we mean by well mixed? Questions like this will be discussed and seen to lead to the study of random walks on certain finite groups. This is an expository talk on work by Persi Diaconis and his colleagues, though... | ||

05/10/2005 | LaSells Stewart Center | Doug Arnold | Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, University of Minnesota | Lonseth Lecture | The New Mathematical Gravitational Astronomy | Contemporary understanding of the cosmos is based on on Einstein's amazing insight that gravity is simply a manifestation of curvature. One ineluctable, though subtle, consequence of this theory of general relativity, is that violent cosmic events--imagine two black holes wildly orbiting around... | |

05/05/1998 | Philip A. Anselone | Oregon State University | Lonseth Lecture | The Power of Calculus: The legacy of Newton | Isaac Newton developed calculus and used it to derive universal laws of motion and gravitation that apply not only on Earth but also to the planets and stars. His laws justify and explain the pervious discoveries of Galileo and Kepler. Newton's laws, particularly force equals mass times... | ||

05/08/2007 | LaSells Stewart Center | Professor Jim Douglas, Jr. | Purdue University | Lonseth Lecture | The Role of Capillarity in Multiphase Flow in Porous Media | Professor Lonseth was very interested in seeing that mathematics interact with other disciplines to improve the understanding of phenomena in these disciplines, and this lecture will be devoted to showing by three examples the importance of including the effects of capillarity in approximating... | |

05/07/1996 | Robert Osserman | Stanford University | Lonseth Lecture | The Shape of the Universe | Mathematics plays a major role in formulating and modeling real-world problems--but models are never right the first time. So mathematics also enters in speeding up complicated calculations, optimizing whatever the current model may be, figuring out its defects, and then producing a more realistic... | ||

05/27/2008 | LaSells Stewart Center | John W. Lee | Lonseth Lecture | Weierstrass Approximation Theorems | Weierstrass published his celebrated approximation theorems in July of 1885. I will start with brief speculations on the antecedents of Weierstrass' work and move on to a selective survey of results and/or proofs related to Weierstrass' original theorems. The survey will include results and/or... | ||

05/11/2010 | Dr. Keith Devlin | Stanford University | Lonseth Lecture | When Mathematics Changed Us | At four distinct stages in the development of modern society, a mathematical development changed — in a fundamental, dramatic, and revolutionary way — how people understand the world. (A fifth such change may be taking place during our lifetime, but only history will say if this is really the case... |