Symposium to Celebrate the 75th Birthday of James Serrin
A Symposium in honor of Regents' Professor Emeritus James Serrin's 75th birthday, sponsored by the School of Mathematics and the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, was held November 8-11, 2001. James Serrin became Regents' Professor of Mathematics in 1969, and was one of the youngest faculty members ever to be so honored. He is the recipient of the George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics (1973), a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters. He was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Sussex and the University of Padua. Professor Serrin continues to be very active scientifically. In 2002 he will speak at conferences in China, France and Russia.
The following distinguished mathematicians addressed the conference: Emmanuele DiBenedetto (Vanderbilt University), "Homogenization limits for a problem in visual transduction"; Haim Brezis (University of Paris VI), "New thoughts on Sobolev spaces"; Constantine Dafermos (Brown University), "Progress in hyperbolic conservation laws"; Avner Friedman (University of Minnesota), "Asymptotic behavior of solutions of systems of nonlinear evolution equations arising in chemotaxis and angiogenesis"; Jack Hale (Georgia Institute of Technology), "Regularity, determining modes and Galerkin methods"; Howard Levine (Iowa State University), "Modeling cell signaling and transduction in angiogenesis"; Hiroshi Matano (University of Tokyo), "Traveling waves in heterogeneous media and a mini-max principle"; Bert Peletier (Leiden University), "Critical powers for the unit ball in n-space"; Patrizia Pucci (University of Perugia), "Remarks on the work of James Serrin and some new results on quasilinear elliptic problems"; Paul Rabinowitz (University of Wisconsin, Madison), "Mixed states for an Allen-Cahn equation"; Grozdena Todorova (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), "Dynamics of nonlinear hyperbolic equations in the vicinity of higher modes"; Hans Weinberger (Unversity of Minnesota), "Spreading speeds in models for multispecies, growth and migration"; William Ziemer (Indiana University, Bloomington), "Sobolev mappings and co-area"; and Henghui Zou (University of Alabama, Birmingham), "A Cauchy-Liouville theorem for quasilinear elliptic equations."
Dinner for the conference participants was held Saturday in the "Bistro" of the Hubert H. Humphrey Center, with Professor Walter Littman serving as Master of Ceremonies. After-dinner speakers included the Head of the School of Mathematics, Professor Naresh Jain, as well as Professors Rutherford Aris, Jim Douglas, Roger Fosdick, Howard Levine, Chi-Sing Man, Bert Peletier, Ray Redheffer, George Sell, and Hans Weinberger, all longtime friends and associates of the honoree. The speakers commented on the depth and breadth of Jim's work and its fundamental impact on the areas of partial differential equations, calculus of variations, hydrodynamics and thermodynamics. Speakers also mentioned his steadfast loyalty to friends and commitment to the department.
The final speaker was Jim himself. He spoke of his family's roots in the midwest farm country of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. He mentioned people who had a profound effect on his undergraduate training: Ernst Hellinger at Northwestern and Harold Blair and Paul Rood at Western Michigan. He then spoke about graduate school at Indiana University where he was introduced to partial differential equations by David Gilbarg. He praised Gilbarg both as a researcher and as a man. "Of all the teachers at Indiana, I most loved David Gilbarg."
With the events of Sept. 11 in mind but never mentioned he paraphrased words of Kenneth Clark. "Order is better than chaos, creation better than destruction." He continued, "the world is full of the genius of marvelous Mathematicians, Scientists and Artists." He expressed the hope that humanity will rise above the destructive setbacks now, as it has in the past. He concluded: "Nevertheless, mathematicians in these troubled times still turn aside into unfrequented wooded lanes. Here the light filters through perfect forms. It arranges itself in lovely patterns—the beauty of mathematical ideas."
The Organizing Committee consisted of Haim Brezis (University of Paris VI), Walter Littman (University of Minnesota), Norman Meyers (University of Minnesota) and Patrizia Pucci (University of Perugia). Many thanks are due to Monika Stumpf, Kathy Swedell and Becky Johnston whose hard work was indispensable to the success of the celebration. Speakers noted the kindness Jim and Barbara have exhibited over their many years in Minnesota. We wish they will be rewarded by many more happy and healthful years.