Address: Mathematics 25337
 Caltech  Pasadena, CA 91125
Telephone: (626) 3954335  Fax: (626) 5851728
The 9th Annual Charles R.
DePrima Memorial
Undergraduate Mathematics Lecture
Tuesday, November 28, 2000
4:15 p.m. Sloan 151
The Shape of the
Universe
by Robert Osserman
Robert Osserman wrote his 1955 Ph.D. thesis on the subject
of Riemann surfaces under the direction of Lars V. Ahlfors at Harvard University. Since
then he has made many fundamental contributions to geometric function theory and
differential geometry.
After obtaining his Ph.D., he joined the faculty of Stanford University and has been
there ever since. While on leave he served as Head of the Mathematics Branch at the Office
of Naval Research, Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Paris, and Guggenheim Fellow at
the University of Warwick. A number of his Ph.D. students have gone on to become
wellknown mathematicians.
In 1987, he became Mellon Professor for
Interdisciplinary Studies and is currently Professor Emeritus. In 1990 he joined the MSRI
as halftime Deputy Director and in 1995 became the first (and only) Special Projects
Director.
Among Professor Osserman's outreach activities were his
role in the 1993 Fermat Fest (at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater in San Francisco) and its
subsequent videotape, his 1999 public conversation with playwright Tom Stoppard on
Mathematics in Arcadia (also available on videotape), and his critically acclaimed book, Poetry
of the Universe — A Mathematical Exploration of the Cosmos.
The Charles R. DePrima Memorial Undergraduate Mathematics Lecture was established
by a gift from Charles R. DePrima and Margaret Thurmond DePrima. The Institute is
privileged to honor the memory of Professor DePrima and his distinguished contribution to
mathematics and Caltech, where he served as a faculty member for over forty years, with a
lecture each year by an outstanding mathematician.
