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Otterbein University Presents Lecture on Controversial Mathematics

February 22, 2013

Westerville, OH—The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series and Scholar-in-Residence program at Otterbein University brings Dr. Robert Fefferman, dean of the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago, to campus for a lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in Riley Auditorium at the Battelle Fine Arts Center, 170 W. Park St. The lecture, “A Journey to Infinity: An Encounter with Controversial Mathematics,” is free and open to the public.

The lecture focuses on the work of a mathematician named Georg Cantor, who pioneered a new understanding of infinity more than 100 years ago. His discovery was met with an unusual amount of criticism from the mathematical community, with some referring to it as “corrupting” and “dangerous.”

Fefferman is the Max Mason Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics at the University of Chicago. He has been dean of the Physical Sciences Division since 2003. He is a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and served as chairman of the Mathematics Department from 1995 to 2001.

Within mathematics, Fefferman is an expert in the field of harmonic analysis and its applications to elliptic partial differential equations and its relationship to probability theory. He is one of the founders of modern multi-parameter Fourier analysis and has lectured around the world on his work.

He has been a fellow of the Sloan Foundation and in 2009 was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For more than 20 years, Fefferman has been active in mathematics outreach, working with Chicago Public School teachers to improve the quality of mathematics education for Chicago's children.

He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1972 and his doctorate degree from Princeton University in 1975.

The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series and Scholar-in-Residence program was established through a generous gift from alumnus Vernon L. Pack, a 1950 graduate of the College and resident of Westerville, Ohio. In accordance with the terms of the endowment, a Distinguished Lecturer visits the campus every other year to address important current issues that will allow the Otterbein community to reflect on ethical, spiritual and social issues. This program will rotate through the five academic divisions of the College, including arts, professional studies, science and mathematics, humanities and social sciences. On alternating years, distinguished scholars will be invited to campus to reside for up to one academic year as part of the Vernon L. Pack Scholar-in-Residence Series to enrich the educational experiences provided to Otterbein students.

The Graduate School at Otterbein is pleased to offer the lecture as part of its Graduate Symposium series to interested students and prospective students.

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