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EPADEL:A Semisesquicentennial History, 1926-2000

Section 7.4 Presenters

During the period 1979-2000, most of the slots on the programs at annual fall meetings were taken up with the traditional mainstay, invited lectures on mathematical topics. Although no films were shown, the section set aside slots on the program for four other types of activities – contributed paper sessions, student paper sessions, a meeting for SIGs, and panel discussions.
The first panel discussion was held in 1979. Its theme, “The machine in the garden: The relationship of computer sciences and the undergraduate mathematics major”, remains as relevant today as it was two decades ago. The three panelists were John Kellett (Gettysburg), John Koch (Wilkes), and Walter Brown (Moravian). The panel discussion conducted three years later, “CUPM recommendations”, was moderated by Gerald Porter (Penn) and included Joerg Mayer (Lebanon Valley) and Larry E. Sigler (Bucknell). In 1989 the panel discussion was titled “A model of an undergraduate research program in mathematics”. The program for the meeting lists only two speakers, Fred Schultheis (Moravian) and Clifford Reiter (Lafayette). The theme of the final panel in the section’s history, held in 1992, was “Encouraging participation among underrepresented groups”. This panel was a sequel to the section’s special session organized by Joanne S. Darken two years earlier. Along with Darken (Community College of Philadelphia,) the other panelists were Charles M. Grinstead (Swarthmore), Elizabeth W. McMahon (Lafayette), and Allen R. Schweinsberg (Bucknell).
The largest part of the section’s annual meetings continued to be the invited lectures. Altogether 81 invited lectures were delivered from 1979 to 2000. After discussing the speakers and their affiliations, we analyze the topics of the lectures in terms of their mathematical classifications. The complete list of speakers and titles is given in an appendix.
Altogether 76 different lecturers delivered the 81 invited talks, providing yet another indication of the impressively diverse mix of invited speakers the section was able to attract. The five lecturers who spoke twice during the EPADEL period were William Dunham (Muhlenberg), Ronald Graham (AT&T), Paul Halmos (Indiana), Jerry King (Lehigh), and Herbert Wilf (Penn). Of the five repeat speakers, only Wilf had spoken at a meeting before this period. As noted earlier, Wilf is one of only five people to deliver four invited talks to the section. The all-time leader with five talks is Albert Wilansky.
The list of 76 speakers includes several of national prominence, including Mark Kac, Kenneth Appel, Walter Feit, Stanislaw Ulam, Lynn Steen, Paul Halmos, Ronald Graham, Thomas Banchoff, John Conway, Uri Treisman, and Mary Ellen Rudin. Advances in air transportation during this period were responsible for the section’s ability to invite more and more speakers from outside the area.
Overall, EPADEL members delivered 28 of the 81 lectures. One notable pairing is the duo of Herbert S. Wilf and Doron Zeilberger, whose work on the eponymous WZ-method earned them the prestigious Steele Prize in 1998 for seminal contributions to research. Also of local interest is the fact that the first African-American invited to deliver an address is an EPADEL member. However, Shiferaw Berhanu (Temple) was unable speak at the 1991 meeting due to illness. Robert S. Smith (Miami of Ohio) thus became the first African- American speaker four years later. To draw a longtime EPADEL connection, Smith received his Penn State Ph.D. in 1969 under Orrin Frink, who had spoke to the section in 1928 and 1932.
During the EPADEL period, institutional affiliations of the speakers were more diverse than at any time in the section’s history, with 54 different institutions accounting for the 81 lecturers. Once again the University of Pennsylvania led the way with nine speakers. Next came Lehigh University with four, while Temple University and AT&T Bell Laboratories had three each. Eleven different institutions were home to exactly two invited lecturers: American University, the University of Delaware, Dartmouth College, Haverford College, Lafayette College, Indiana University, the MAA, Muhlenberg College, the Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, and SUNY at Binghamton.
Table 7.4.1 lists all EPADEL members who presented invited lectures in this period, by institution. We comment on a few of the institutional affiliations. William Dunham’s talks in 1992 and 1999 mark the only time in the section’s history that a faculty member from Muhlenberg delivered an invited lecture. Similarly, talks by Paul Wolfson (1987), Kenneth A. Brakke (1993), and James P. Fink (1994) represent the only times that speakers have ever come from West Chester, Susquehanna, or Gettysburg, respectively. Although Gary Gordon was the sixth faculty member from Lafayette to give an invited lecture, his 1996 talk was the first since 1941; James Crawford kept the Lafayette tradition alive in 1999.
Table 7.4.1.
Institution Speaker Year Institution Speaker Year
Penn Porter 1980 Temple Coughlin 1984
Penn Wilf 1982 Temple Newman 1985
Penn Shatz 1984 Temple Zeilberger 1998
Penn Gluck 1989 Delaware Baxter 1979
Penn DeTurck 1991 Delaware Kennedy 1990
Penn Steele 1994 Haverford Greene 1979
Penn Kannan 1995 Have./Penn Golub 1985
Penn Wilf 1995 Lafayette Gordon 1996
Penn Harbater 1996 Lafayette Crawford 1999
Lehigh King 1981 Muhlenberg Dunham 1992
Lehigh Wilansky 1983 Muhlenberg Dunham 1999
Lehigh King 1997 Gettysburg Fink 1994
Lehigh Dobric 1998 WestChester Wolfson 1987
Susquehanna Brakke 1993
Although the institutional affiliations of the speakers were diverse, all but five speakers held academic positions, and none was a high school teacher. The speakers holding nonacademic positions were Ronald Graham (AT&T), John D. Grace (Atlantic Richfield Corp.), Elaine Jacobson (Control Data Corp.), Fern Hunt (National Institute of Standards and Technology), and Karvel Thornber (NEC Research). Jacobson had obtained her Ph.D. at Temple under Theodore Mitchell ten years before delivering her invited lecture in 1987.