Speaker:

CHARLES FEFFERMAN is one of the major analysts of the 20th century. He was a prodigy who delved into his father’s calculus books at age 10, and started classes at Maryland as a 12yearold, graduating with high honors in math and physics at 17. Three years later, he added a Princeton doctorate to his credentials. Then began a series of “youngest ever’s” including a full professorship (at University of Chicago) at age 22, the youngest to hold that rank at the time; the youngest recipient of the prestigious Fields Medal; awarded every four years to a mathematician under 40 and considered mathematics’ equivalent of the Nobel; the first winner of the Waterman Prize; and the youngest person elected to the US National Academy of Sciences since the early 19th century. In 1974, Fefferman joined the faculty at Princeton where he remains today as the Herbert E. Jones Jr. Professor of Mathematics and Mathematics Department Chair. Of course, what matters to mathematicians is the string of deep insights and theorems that Charlie has produced, not the honors he has garnered. His work has impacted classical harmonic analysis, complex manifold theory, partial differential equations, and even mathematical physics and mathematical economics. His discovery of BMO duality theory for H^{1} spaces made previously subtle and complex results into simple corollaries. His work on singular integrals provided a new proof of Carleson’s result on the almost everywhere convergence of L^{2}fourier series. His work on canonical transformations and uncertainty principle bounds provided important new tools in PDEs. His discovery and masterful analysis of the logarithmic singularity of the Bergmann metric proved regularity of biholomorphic maps up to the boundary. His work with Seco on the binding energy of large Z atoms went far beyond the earlier results of LiebSimon and of HughesSiedentopWeikard. The breadth of Fefferman’s interest and scope can be seen in the series of Wolff lectures he’ll be giving on four different areas of analysis.


The Thomas Wolff
Memorial Lectures The
Thomas Wolff lectures, sponsored by donations from his widow and his parents, memorialize
Caltech’s great analyst who was tragically killed at age 46 in an automobile accident
in July, 2000. Wolff was a specialist in
analysis, particularly harmonic analysis. Professor Wolff made numerous highly original
contributions to the mathematical fields of fourier analysis, partial differential
equations, and complex analysis. A recurrent theme of his work was the application of
finite combinatorial ideas to infinite, continuous problems. His
early work on the Corona theorem, done as a Berkeley graduate student, stunned the
mathematical community with its simplicity. Tom
never wrote it up himself since several book writers asked for permission to include the
proof in their books where it appeared not long after he discovered it. After producing a number of very significant
papers between 1980 and 1995, he turned to the Kakeya problem and its significance in
harmonic analysis, works whose impact is still being explored. Peter
Jones, mathematics department chair at Yale, described Tom’s contributions as
follows: “The hallmark of his approach
to research was to select a problem where the present tools of harmonic analysis were
wholly inadequate for the task. After a period of extreme concentration, he would come up
with a new technique, usually of astonishing originality. With this new technique and his
wellknown ability to handle great technical complications, the problem would be solved.
After a few more problems in the area were resolved, the field would be changed forever.
Tom would move on to an entirely new domain of research, and the rest of the analysis
community would spend years trying to catch up. In the mathematical community, the common
and rapid response to these breakthroughs was that they were seen not just as watershed
events, but as lightning strikes that permanently altered the landscape.” Tom
was noted for his analytic prowess, the depth of his insights, and the passion with which
he nurtured the talents of young mathematicians. We
miss him.


Wolff BanquetFor information, please contact Elizabeth Wood
