Department of Mathematics

Address: Mathematics 253-37 | Caltech | Pasadena, CA 91125
Telephone: (626) 395-4335 | Fax: (626) 585-1728

The 12th Annual Charles R. DePrima Memorial
Undergraduate Mathematics Lecture

Tuesday, November 4, 2003
4:15 p.m.  151 Sloan


Professor of Mathematics and Former Director
Courant Institute, New York University

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Multivariable Calculus Made Easy

Abstract:  A completely elementary proof of the change variable formula for multiple integrals will be presented and used to prove the Brouwer fixed point theorem.

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Peter Lax graduated with a Ph.D. from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in 1949 and is considered one of the outstanding applied and theoretical mathematicians of the twentieth century.  After graduation, he went to work at Los Alamos with John von Neumann.  His first numerical experiments were completed on Los Alamos’s MANIAC computer.

His interests lie in the fields of fluid dynamics, partial differential equations, and computation. His name is connected with many major mathematical results and numerical methods, among them the Lax-Milgram Lemma, the Lax Equivalence Theorem, the Lax-Wendruff Scheme, the Lax-Friedrichs Scheme, the Lax Entropy Condition, the Lax Pair, and the Lax-Levermore Theory. He is the winner of many awards including the National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize, the Semmelweis Medal, and the Wiener Prize.  He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1970. His writing skills have led to the Lester R. Ford Award in two separate years and the Chauvenet Prize.

One of his most important contributions to high performance computing was his role in establishing the National Science Foundation (NSF) computing centers. He served on the National Science Board from 1980 to 1986, during which time he chaired the “Lax Panel.” This panel made the recommendation that the NSF establish national supercomputing centers connected by a high speed network to provide university scientists access to the same level of high performance computing available in the national laboratories. 


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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.