Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

News Items

Ellenberg weighs in on billionaires


In a recent episode of the Marketplace podcast, a question came up about billionaires.  Among several experts, Jordan Ellenberg took a stab at it, suggesting a comparison instead.  “How much wealth has that person amassed relative to the sum total of everybody who works for them?” Ellenberg said. “That’s a ratio that’s much closer to a humanly understandable ratio.” 

Link:  I've always wondered: Should there even be billionaires? - Marketplace

Walter Rudin Centenary


May 2, 2021 marks what would have been Walter Rudin's 100th birthday. Walter Rudin was one of the preeminent mathematicians of his generation. He worked in a number of different areas of mathematical analysis, and he made major contributions to each.  He came to the UW in 1959 and stayed until his retirement in 1991. He and his wife, the distinguished mathematician Mary Ellen (Estill) Rudin, were popular teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate level and served as mentors for many graduate students.  The duo were active in the daily life of the math department, and enjoyed collaborating with their colleagues as well.

Walter Rudin is also known to generations of undergraduate and graduate students for his three outstanding textbooks: Principles of Mathematical Analysis (1953), Real and Complex Analysis (1966), and Functional Analysis (1973). His books have been reprinted in several different languages.  In 1993 he was awarded the American Mathematical Society’s Leroy P. Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition. He received an honorary degree from the University of Vienna in 2006.

Link:  https://www.ams.org/notices/201303/rnoti-p295.pdf

Math major among recipients of Goldwater Scholarship


Gage Siebert, of Fremont, Wisconsin, was among three UW-Madison students named as Goldwater Scholars. He is majoring in physics and mathematics.  As a freshman, he studied the origins of life in Professor David Baum’s lab at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Siebert then interned at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, studying the radio emission from several of the millisecond pulsars used in the search for gravitational waves. He later presented this work at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. For the past two years, Siebert has worked in Professor Peter Timbie’s observational cosmology lab on the Tianlai Array, a radio astronomy experiment built to map hydrogen. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.

Link:  https://news.wisc.edu/three-uw-madison-students-named-2021-goldwater-scholars/

Math alum to speak to graduates at spring commencement


John Gottman, Ph.D., an alumnus of the UW–Madison, is world-renowned for his work on marital stability and divorce prediction. He will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree during spring commencement. As is the tradition for recipients of honorary doctoral degrees, he will speak at the ceremony for graduate students.

Gottman earned a master’s degree in clinical psychology–mathematics from UW–Madison in 1967 and a doctorate in clinical psychology from UW–Madison in 1971. Prior to that, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics–physics from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1962 and a master’s degree in mathematics–psychology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964.

After holding faculty positions at Indiana University and the University of Illinois, Gottman joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington in 1986. In 1996, he co-founded of The Gottman Institute in Seattle with his wife, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman. Its mission is to “create and maintain greater love and health in relationships.”

“Dr. Gottman was the first to develop rigorous mathematical analyses of behavior to objectively describe relationships in couples,” says Professor Janet Hyde, chair of the UW–Madison Department of Gender & Women’s Studies and a professor of psychology. “His background in mathematics was the key to the development of this, which at the time was a groundbreaking experimental approach. These analytical methods have since had great relevance to many other areas in the study of human behavior.”

Gottman is the author or co-author of over 200 published academic articles and more than 40 books, including the bestselling “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”; “What Makes Love Last”; “Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love”; “The Relationship Cure”; “Why Marriages Succeed or Fail”; and “Raising An Emotionally...

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