14 Purdue professors among first AMS class of fellows



Dr. Laszlo Lempert, one of the Purdue AMS fellows named Nov. 1.

The first class of fellows for the American Mathematical Society includes 14 Purdue University Department of Mathematics names.

The fellowships recognize mathematical scientists from around the world “who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics,” according to a Nov. 1 news release from the America Mathematical Society.

The Purdue names are 12 current faculty members and one retired professor, Clarence Wilkerson. Shreeram Abhyankar was awarded a fellowship but the renowned mathemetican known for his contributions in algebraic geometry passed away on Nov. 2.

The current Mathematics faculty members that were awarded fellowships are Bernd Ulrich, Louis de Branges, Harold Gerard Donnelly, Jim Douglas Jr., Joseph Lipman, Bradley J. Lucier, James E. McClure, Patricia Bauman, Steven R. Bell, Herman Rubin, Freydoon Shahidi and Laszlo Lempert, department head of Mathematics.

“The fellowship is important for those who are named fellows because it recognizes their achievements; by doing so, encourages them to continue on their path; and informs their home institutions of assets that they have,” said Dr. Lempert, whose research in complex geometry helped bring him the AMS honor. “It is of importance to the institution as well, because it gives an idea of how the institution is viewed by the profession. This said, I must emphasize that the Department of Mathematics has many more assets than what the fellowship program can recognize.

“I am glad that so many Purdue faculty have been named in the inaugural class. I know of a few more, who satisfy the very concrete criteria in order to be named now, but they are not members of the AMS, and for this reason were not eligible to become a fellow. No matter whether it is 14 or 16 or more, it validates the path that Purdue, the College of Science, and the department chose to follow: to emphasize excellence in research and education, and to invest significant resources in them.”

Prof. Bell is a longtime member of the AMS and he is appreciative of the fellowship he received.

"I joined the AMS back when I was a graduate student at MIT in the late 1970s," said Prof. Bell. "The AMS has always given grad students a special deal, and once you're in, you tend to stay in. I'm a life member now.

"The AMS has had a very strong influence on my career. AMS conferences and publications are important to all mathematicians, but the AMS Centennial Research Fellowship and the AMS Bergman Prize that I was awarded early in my career helped to really launch me on my way and gave me more time to do research when I was young. Those two things are the reason I've been made a fellow now that I'm old and gray."

Overall, the inaugural class of fellows consists of 1,119 names from more than 600 institutions.

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