On Nov. 1, the American Mathematical Society (AMS) recognized the achievements of prominent international mathematicians, naming over 1000 Fellows to the inaugural class. The list included nine Krieger School of Arts and Sciences professors from the Department of Mathematics and one professor of the Whiting School of Engineering.
To be selected as a Fellow in the first year of the program, the members had to possess at least one of the following qualifications: an AMS research prize, an offer to speak at an AMS event, or an invited address at the International Congress of Mathematicians.
The AMS, founded in 1888, provides support for research and scholarship in the field of mathematics through a variety of programs and venues. They provide everything from fellowships and publication reviews to prizes and conferences.
Membership is not limited to professors and there are about 30,000 members of all ages and amateur to professional status. “They try to popularize mathematics with the public,” Joel Spruck, a professor with interests in differential geometry and a newly named Fellow, said. “Many levels of people belong to the AMS and profit from its existence.” Spruck was invited based on his speeches at an AMS meeting and at a 1994 International Congress of Mathematicians conference in Zurich.
The AMS has a specific focus on engaging the youth. The organization provides job counseling for graduate students and goes to Congress as an advocate for mathematical education funding.
In the coming years, fellows will be selected through nominations and voting from within the group of pre-existing fellows. “I will try especially hard to nominate deserving younger mathematicians for this honor. Mathematics can, at times, be a lonely pursuit, and it is nice when you receive recognition, especially at the earlier stages of your career,” Christopher Sogge, a professor specializing in harmonic analysis and a newly named Fellow, wrote in an email to The News-Letter.
In addition to this duty, the fellows are responsible for certain advisory assistance to the AMS President and Council as well as becoming public stewards for the field of mathematics. “I will try as best I can as an AMS fellow to promote the subject,” Sogge wrote.
According to Spruck, the AMS eventually aims to list five percent of their members as Fellows. “They think [the program is] going to promote excellence in some way,” Spruck said, emphasizing that while the honor is fine, the services provided the AMS are of the greatest importance.
Spruck and Sogge are joined as Fellows by seven other members of the Department of Mathematics. “The 9 people selected are very deserving of this honor. They have been leaders in their fields and have made fundamental contributions to the subject (at least the other eight), in my opinion,” Sogge wrote. “Together they represent a wide swath of mathematics. As I said, it is great that they got this recognition.”
Spruck echoed this sentiment, saying that only a small number of people are given these awards or are asked to speak at these conferences. Such recognition, he said, shows the esteemed nature of his colleagues. “It doesn’t happen that often that you’re invited to give an international address.”
Though now retired, J. Michael Boardman, a professor in the Department of Mathematics who studies algebraic topology, appreciates the recognition and plans to attend the reception for new Fellows in January. This will take place in San Diego during the AMS’s annual meeting.
The other Fellows are William P. Minicozzi II, Bernard Shiffman, W. Stephen Wilson, Steven M. Zucker, Jun-ichi Igusa, Takashi Ono. Engineering professor Edward Scheinerman of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics was also awarded the honor.