Kansas State Mathematics Department

Friends of Mathematics Lectures

Friends of Mathematics was established as a scholarship fund with the KSU Foundation on November 1, 1968. In the Spring of 1982, Friends of Mathematics expanded in scope to include an alumni-faculty organization dedicated to excellence in Mathematics at KSU. The primary mission of Friends of Mathematics is to provide scholarships for outstanding mathematics majors and to fund lectureships from annual friends-alumni-faculty contributions.

Associated with the "Friends Lecture" is the annual Friends of Mathematics Awards Banquet. At the banquet a number of undergraduate scholarships will be presented, as well as an outstanding faculty teacher award. Scholarships to graduate students will also be a part of the festivities.

  1. Paul Halmos, Indiana University, 2:30 - "Can You Beat The Odds?"; 6:30 - "What to do 'till the Computer Scientist Gets Away," April 28, 1983.

  2. Ivan Niven, University of Oregon, 2:30 - "Surprising Results in Elementary Mathematics"; 6:30 - "Some Observations on Mathematics and Mathematicians," April 12, 1984.

  3. Peter Hilton, State University of New York at Binghampton, 2:30 - "Folding Regular Polygons and Doing Number Theory"; 6:30 - "Reminiscences of a Cryptographer in the Second World War," April 16,1985.

  4. Henry Pollak, Assistant Vice President for Mathematical Communications and Computer Science Research, Bell Communications Research, Inc., 2:30 - "The Loop-Switching Addressing Problem or How to Embed an Arbitrary Graph in a Squashed Cube"; 6:30 - "When to call a Mathematician," May 6, 1986.

  5. Lynn Arthur Steen, St. Olaf College, 2:30 - "Mathematics in the Year 2000"; 6:30 - "Smokestack Classrooms," April 23, 1987.

  6. Raoul Bott, Harvard University, 2:30 - "On the Points of Infinity"; 6:30 - "In the Revolving Door," April 19, 1988.

  7. Ronald Graham, Bell Labs, 2:30 - "The Combinatorics of Universal Algebra"; 6:30 - "Mathematical Models & Scientific Computing," April 26, 1990.

  8. Garrett Birkhoff, Harvard University, 2:30 - "Lattice Theory & Universal Algebra"; 6:30 - "Mathematical Models & Scientific Computing," April 26, 1990.

  9. Charles Curtis, University of Oregon, 2:30 - "Representations of Finite Groups: Past & Present"; 6:30 - "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics," April 25, 1991.

  10. Robert Fefferman, University of Chicago, 2:30 - "Singular Integrals & Their Applications in Analysis"; 6:30 - "Some Personal Opinions on Mathematics & Mathematics Education in the U.S. Today," April 23, 1992.

  11. Irving Kaplansky, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkeley, 2:30 - "What's New in Mathematics?"; 6:30 - "Mathematics Research Institutes - Good, Bad, or Somewhere in Between?," April 20, 1993.

  12. Persi Diaconis, Harvard University, 2:30 - "Patterns in Eigenvalues"; 6:30 - "On Coincidences," April 21, 1994.

  13. Andrew Gleason, Harvard University, 2:30 - "Confidence in Mathematics? The Advent of Statistical Reasoning"; 6:30 - "Cryptography, Old & New," April 25, 1995.

  14. Richard Kadison, University of Pennsylvania, 2:30 - "Finite Matrices and Beyond"; 6:30 - "Reflections of a Mathematics Teacher," April 30, 1996.

  15. Kenneth Ross, University of Oregon, 2:30 - "The Mathematics of Card Shuffling"; 6:30 - "Factorization in L1 and Other Places," April 17, 1997.

  16. Bernd Sturmfels, University of California at Berkeley, 2:30 - "Polynomial Equations and Convex Polytopes"; 6:30 - "Counting Coins and Related Problems," April 21, 1998.

  17. Karen Smith, University of Michigan, 2:30 - "A Personal Journey Towards Mathematics"; 6:30 - "Reflections on Being a Woman Mathematician," April 29, 1999.

  18. Richard Beals, Yale University, 2:30 - "Life on the Heisenberg Group"; 6:30 - "The Reasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematicians," April 26, 2000.

  19. Robion Kirby, University of California at Berkeley, 2:30 - "The Arf Invariant in Manifold Topology"; 6:30 - "Mathematical Culture," April 26, 2001.

  20. Cameron Gordon, University of Texas at Austin, 2:30 - "The Classification of Knots"; 6:30 - "The Poincare Conjecture: A Million Dollar Math Problem," April 25, 2002.

  21. David Hoffman, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, 2:30 - "The Geometry of Minimal Surfaces"; 6:30 - "Mathematical Images and the Image of Mathematics," May 1, 2003.

  22. David Eisenbud, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, 2:30 - "Free Resolutions: What, Why, How?"; 6:30 - "Reflections on Mathematical Parenting," April 22, 2004.

  23. Tom Mrowka, MIT, 2:30 - "Progress and Prospects in Floer Homology for Three Manifolds"; 6:30 - "Knots and DNA," April 26, 2005.

  24. Colin Adams, Williams College, 2:30 - "A Pictorial Introduction to Hyperbolic 3-Manifolds"; 6:30 - "Blown Away: What Knot To Do When Sailing," April 25, 2006.

  25. Ron Douglas, Texas A&M University, 2:30 - Operator Theory and Complex Geometry; 6:30 - "Some Mathematical Vignettes," April 26, 2007.

  26. Steven Krantz, The American Institute of Mathematics and Washington University, 2:30 - A Matter of Gravity; 6:30 - "Abstract Thoughts on Concrete Mathematics," April 29, 2008.

  27. Dror Bar-Natan, University of Toronto, 2:30 - (u, v, and w knots) x (topology, combinatorics, low algebra, and high algebra); 6:30 - "The Hardest Math I've Ever Really Used," Apri l7, 2009.

  28. Frank Sottile, Texas A&M University, 2:30 - "Orbitopes"; 6:30 - "An Experimental Road to Mathematical Truth," April 27, 2010.

  29. Chandler Davis, University of Toronto, 2:30 - Some Forgotten Matrix Theorems; 6:30 - "Splashing Down Safely," April 28, 2011.

  30. Edward Frenkel, University of California, Berkeley, 2:30 - "What do Fermat's Last Theorem and Electro-magnetic Duality Have in Common?"; 6:30 - "Mathematics with a Human Face," April 19, 2012.

  31. Erik Demaine, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2:30 - Algorithms Meet Art, Puzzles, and Magic; 6:30 - "From Transformers to Star Trek Replicators," April 16, 2013.

  32. Steffen Rohde, University of Washington, 2:30 - "How to Draw Trees and Why"; 6:30 - "Random Fractals," April 29, 2014

  33. Jeremy Tyson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2:30 - "An Invitation to Analysis in Metric Measure Spaces via Rademacher's Differentiation Theorem"; 6:30 - "Lights Out!" April 14, 2015

  34. Paul Muhly, University of Iowa, 2:30- From Operator Algebra to Noncommutative Function Theory : Video; 6:30 -  "Thoughts on Training Mathematicians," April 14, 2016

  35. Eugenia Cheng, University of Sheffield and School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2:30- How to Bake Pi: Making Mathematics Tasty : Video , 6:30 -  "My Life in Graphs" April 13, 2017



Friends of Mathematics: Distinguished Alumni Lectures


  1. Gary Dickson, Class of 1976, "An Actuary a Mathematician," April 23, 1987.

  2. Daniel Jones, Sandia National Laboratories, "Mathematics at Sandia National Laboratories," April 19, 1988.

  3. William J. Spencer, Xerox Corporation, "Mathematics: A Senior Manager's View," April 27, 1989.

  4. Eugene Hughes, President, Northern Arizona University, "Mathematics: A University President's View," April 26, 1990.

  5. Donald E. Myers, University of Arizona, "A Mathematician & Interdisciplinary Research," April 25, 1991.

  6. Judith Brandt Daniels, Class of 1964, "One Equals Infinity," April 23, 1992.

  7. Marilyn McCord Nelson, Class of 1961, "B.S. in Mathematics: Passport to Adventure," April 20, 1993.

  8. Garfield Schmidt, Class of 1960, "Riding the Roller Coaster into the 90's," April 21, 1994.

  9. Ross Freeman, Class of 1961, "Losing While Winning," April 25, 1995.

  10. Richard Latas, Class of 1969, "Continuing Education - A Global Twist," April 30, 1996.

  11. Gary Thomas, Class of 1965, "What I Learned from Mathematics," April 17, 1997.

  12. John C. Nelson, Class of 1980, "The Simple Things," April 21, 1998.

  13. Bernard McDonald, Class of 1964, NSF Division of Mathematical Sciences, "Yesterday and Today," April 29, 1999.

  14. Richard Schelp, University of Memphis, Class of 1970, "A Personal View of Paul ErdAs," April 27, 2000.

  15. Gary Schmidt, Washburn University, Class of 1973, "Putting Math into Perspective," April 26, 2001.

  16. Wayne O. Evans, PentaSafe Corporation, Wayne O. Evans Consulting, Inc., Class of 1964, "What I learned at K-State that Helped Me In Industry," April 25, 2002.

  17. Donald Brining, Class of 1969, County Administrator for Saint Lawrence County in New York, "Getting to the Top is More than Just Being the Best Mathematician," May 1, 2003.

  18. Joyce McLaughlin, Class of 1961, Ford Foundation Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, "Applied Mathematics: A Diverse Life," April 22, 2004.

  19. Judith Penna Henn, Class of 1967, Collegiate Mathematics Division of Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, "Back When I was in School," April 26, 2005.

  20. Gary Gabrielson, Class of 1963, Raytheon Corporation, "Travels of a Kansas Farm Boy - With a Mathematicians Eye," April 25, 2006.

  21. John Lewis, Class of 1966, University of Kentucky, "Mathematics as a Career," April 26, 2007.

  22. Jim Baxter, Class of 1963, Sutton Homes, owner/operator, "Mathematics: A Great Way to Get Started," April 29, 2008.

  23. Eric Gerelle, Class of 1975, Director of IBEX Project Services, Geneva, Switzerland, "The Calculus of Development," April 7, 2009.

  24. Evan Stewart, Class of 1965, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, B/E Aerospace, Inc., "On Being Prepared," April 27, 2010.

  25. Igor Rodnianski, Class of 1999, Henry Burchard Fine Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, "The Unreasonable Beauty of Mathematics," April 28, 2011.

  26. Chet Wilcox, Class of 1961, Naval Meterology and Oceanography Command Stennis Space Center, retired, "Wow! My Math Instructors Sent Me On Some Journey!" April 19, 2012.

  27. John Elbl, Class of 1995, Senior Vice President American Integrity Insurance Company, "My Math Instructors Were Right. Solving Theorems Is The Skill That People Want," April 16, 2013.

  28. Samuel Musil, Class of 1965, Shell Oil Company, "What is Truth?" April 29, 2014

  29. Karl Simecka, Class of 1961, Department of Defense and co-founded the Indian Chamber of Commerce of Nevada, "Military Operations Analysis Techniques," April 14, 2015

  30. Gary Bitter, Class of 1962, Arizona State University, "A Math Career," April 14, 2016

  31. Larry Nelson, Class of 1962, Alcatel-Lucent, retired, "Opportunities are as Thick as Prime Numbers!",  April 13, 2017