Department of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley

1999 Bowen lectures

Tuesday, November 9, 4:10pm-5:00pm
10 Evans
Reception in 1015 Evans following the lecture

Wednesday, November 10, 4:10pm-5:00pm
50 Birge

Thursday, November 11, 4:10pm-5:00pm
10 Evans

Cliff H. Taubes
Harvard University

Speculations about smooth 4-manifolds:
now we know just how little we know

Recent advances in our understanding of smooth 4-dimensional manifolds have led us to the curious position of now knowing just how little we know of 4-manifolds. After I tell you where the boundary of our knowledge lies (an easy task), I will describe how we got to this amusing state of affairs and outline some speculative programs for pushing farther into the unknown.

Cliff Taubes

Cliff Taubes grew up in Rochester, New York, received his undergraduate education at Cornell University, and obtained a PhD in Physics from Harvard University in 1980. After a three year postgraduate fellowship at the Harvard Mathematics Department, he taught for two years at Berkeley, and since 1985 has been a Professor of Mathematics at Harvard. His research interests have been in the boundary lands between differential equations, and low dimensional topology and geometry. He is the recipient of the Veblen Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Elie Cartan Prize of the French Mathematical Society. He is also a member of both the American and National Academy of Sciences. Recently, he was named the William Petschek Professor of Mathematics at Harvard.

The Bowen Lectures were established by friends and colleagues as a memorial to Rufus Bowen after his untimely death at age 31 in 1978.
            Born in 1947 in Vallejo, California, Robert Edward (Rufus) Bowen was awarded the AB with prizes for scholarship by the University of California at Berkeley in 1967. His doctorate in Mathematics was completed in Berkeley in 1970 under the direction of Stephen Smale. In that year he was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Mathematics at Berkeley. He was promoted to the rank of Professor in 1977.
            Bowen worked in mathematical dynamics systems theory. His pioneering studies of topological entropy, symbolic dynamics, Markov partitions, and invariant measures are of lasting importance; much of today's research is inspired by his ideas.
            Each year the Department of Mathematics invites an outstanding mathematician to deliver the Bowen Lectures on important topics of mathematical research.

Past Bowen lecturers

1981-82  Dennis Sullivan      1987-88  Blaine Lawson         1993-94  Alain Connes
1982-83Anatol Katok 1988-89David Ruelle 1994-95Shing-Tung Yau
1983-84Michael Atiyah 1989-90Yuri Manin 1995-96Peter Sarnak
1984-85John Franks 1990-91John Milnor 1996-97Vladimir Arnold
1985-86William Parry 1991-92Philip Holmes 1997-98Simon Donaldson
1986-87Nancy Kopell 1992-93Israel M. Gelfond 1998-99Barry Mazur

Hendrik W. Lenstra, Jr., Chair, 1999 Bowen lecture committee
This page was last modified October 22, 1999.