The Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectures


The American Mathematical Society established the Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectureship in 1923. The Society chooses speakers with a known ability to deliver lectures which are understandable by non-mathematicians. The aim is to make people aware of the importance and the impact of mathematics on the world in which we live. The lectures are given annually, but there have been a few years since the series began when no lecture was given. Below is a complete list of the lecturers. For each lecture we give:

The month and year; The venue; The lecturer; The title of the lecture.

1. February 1924; New York City; Michael I Pupin; Coordination.

2. December 1924; Washington, D.C.; Robert Henderson; Life insurance as a social science and as a mathematical problem.

3. December 1925; Kansas City, Missouri; James Pierpont; Some modern views of space.

4. December 1926; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Horatio B Williams; Mathematics and the biological sciences.

5. December 1927; Nashville, Tennessee; Ernest W Brown; Resonance in the solar system.

6. December 1928; New York City; G H Hardy; An introduction to the theory of numbers.
    [G. H. Hardy was unable to give his lecture in person due to illness, so H W Brinkmann presented Hardy's lecture.]

7. December 1929; Des Moines, Iowa; Irving Fisher; The applications of mathematics to the social sciences.

8. December 1930; Cleveland, Ohio; Edwin B Wilson; Reminiscences of Gibbs by a student and colleague.

9. December 1931; New Orleans, Louisiana; Percy W Bridgman; Statistical mechanics and the second law of thermodynamics.

10. December 1932; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Richard C Tolman; Thermodynamics and relativity.

11. December 1934; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Albert Einstein; An elementary proof of the theorem concerning the equivalence of mass and energy.

12. January 1935; St Louis, Missouri; Vannevar Bush; Instrumental analysis.

13. October 1936; New York City; Henry Norris Russell; Model stars.

14. December 1937; Indianapolis, Indiana; Charles August Kraus; The present status of the theory of electrolytes.

15. December 1939; Columbus, Ohio; Theodore von Kármán; The engineer grapples with nonlinear problems.

16. September 1941; Chicago, Illinois; Sewall Wright; Statistical genetics and evolution.

17. November 1943; Chicago, Illinois; Harry Bateman; The control of elastic fluids.

18. November 1944; Chicago, Illinois; John von Neumann; The ergodic theorem and statistical mechanics.

19. November 1945; Chicago, Illinois; John Clarke Slater; Physics and the wave equation.

20. November 1946; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar; The transfer of radiation in stellar atmosphere.

21. December 1947; Athens, Georgia; Philip McCord Morse; Mathematical problems in operations research.

22. December 1948; Columbus, Ohio; Hermann Weyl; Ramifications, old and new, of the eigenvalue problem.

23. December 1949; New York City; Norbert Wiener; Problems of sensory prosthesis.

24. December 1950; Gainesville, Florida; George E Uhlenbeck; Some basic problems of statistical mechanics.

25. December 1951; Providence, Rhode Island; Kurt Gödel; Some basic theorems on the foundations of mathematics and their philosophical implications.

26. December 1952; St Louis, Missouri; Marston Morse; Topology and geometrical analysis.

27. December 1953; Baltimore, Maryland; Wassily Leontief; Mathematics in economics.

28. December 1954; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Kurt O Friedrichs; Asymptotic phenomena in mathematical physics.

29. December 1955; Houston, Texas; Joseph E Meyer; The structure of simple fields.

30. December 1956; Rochester, New York; Marshall H Stone; Mathematics and the future of science.

31. January 1958; Cincinnati, Ohio; Hermann Joseph Muller; Evolution by mutation.

32. January 1959; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Johannes Martinus Burgers; On the emergence of patterns of order.

33. January 1960; Chicago, Illinois; Julian Schwinger; Quantum field theory.

34. January 1961; Washington, D.C.; James Johnston Stoker; Some nonlinear problems in elasticity.

35. January 1962; Cincinnati, Ohio; Chen Ning Yang; Symmetry principles in modern physics.

36. January 1963; Berkeley, California; Claude E Shannon; Information theory.

37. January 1964; Miami, Florida; Lars Onsager; Mathematical problems of cooperative phenomena.

38. January 1965; Denver, Colorado; Derrick H Lehmer; Mechanical mathematics.

39. January 1966; Chicago, Illinois; Martin Schwarzschild; Stellar evolution.

40. January 1967; Houston, Texas; Mark Kac; Some mathematical problems in the theory of phase transitions.

41. January 1968; San Francisco, California; Eugene P Wigner; Problems of symmetry in old and new physics.

42. January 1969; New Orleans, Louisiana; Raymond L Wilder; Trends and social implications of research.

43. January 1970; San Antonio, Texas; Walter H Munk; Tides and time.

44. January 1971; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Eberhard F F Hopf; Ergodic theory and the geodesic flow on surfaces of constant negative curvature.

45. January 1972; Las Vegas, Nevada; Freeman J Dyson; Missed opportunities.

46. January 1973; Dallas, Texas; Jürgen Moser; The stability concept in dynamical systems.

47. January 1974; San Francisco, California; Paul A Samuelson; Economics and mathematical analysis.

48. January 1975; Washington, D.C.; Fritz John; A priori estimates, geometric effects, and asymptotic behavior.

49. January 1976; San Antonio, Texas; Arthur S Wightman; Nonlinear functional analysis and some of its applications in quantum field theory.

50. January 1977; St. Louis, Missouri; Joseph B Keller; Rays, waves, and asymptotics.

51. January 1978; Atlanta, Georgia; Donald E Knuth; Mathematical typography.

52. January 1979; Biloxi, Mississippi; Martin Kruskal; "What are solitons and inverse scattering anyway, and why should I care?"

53. January 1980; San Antonio, Texas; Kenneth Wilson; The statistical continuum limit.

54. January 1981; San Francisco, California; Cathleen S Morawetz; The mathematical approach to the sound barrier.

55. January 1982; Cincinnati, Ohio; Elliott W Montroll; The dynamics and evolution of some sociotechnical systems.

56. January 1983; Denver, Colorado; Samuel Karlin; Mathematical models and controversies of evolutionary theory.

57. January 1984; Louisville, Kentucky; Herbert A Simon; Computer modeling of the processes of scientific and mathematical discovery.

58. January 1985; Anaheim, California; Michael O Rabin; Randomization in mathematics and computer science.

59. January 1986; New Orleans, Louisiana; Laurence Edward Scriven; The third leg: Mathematics and computation in applicable science and high technology.

60. January 1987; San Antonio, Texas; Thomas C Spencer; Schrödinger operators and dynamical systems.

61. January 1988; Atlanta, Georgia; David P Ruelle; How natural is our mathematics? The example of equilibrium statistical mechanics.

62. January 1989; Phoenix, Arizona; Elliott H Lieb; The stability of matter: from atoms to stars.

63. January 1990; Louisville, Kentucky; George B Dantzig; The wide wide world of pure mathematics that goes by other names.

64. January 1991; San Francisco, California; Michael Atiyah; Physics and the mysteries of space.

65. January 1992; Baltimore, Maryland; Michael E Fisher; Approaching the limit: Mathematics and myth in statistical physics.

66. January 1993; San Antonio, Texas; Charles S Peskin; Fluid dynamics and fiber architecture of the heart and its valves.

67. January 1994; Cincinnati, Ohio; Robert M May; Necessity and chance: Deterministic chaos in ecology and evolution.

68. January 1995; San Francisco, California; Andrew J Majda; Turbulence, turbulent diffusion, and modern applied mathematics.

69. January 1996; Orlando, Florida; Steven Weinberg; Is field theory the answer? Is string theory the answer? What was the question?

70. January 1997; San Diego, California; Persi Diaconis; Patterns in eigenvalues.

71. January 1998; Baltimore, Maryland; Edward Witten; M-Theory.

72. January 1999; San Antonio, Texas; Nancy J Kopell; We got rhythm: Dynamical systems of the nervous system.

73. January 2000; Washington, DC; Roger Penrose; Physics, computability, and mentality.

74. January 2001; New Orleans, Louisiana; Ronald L Graham; The Steiner problem.

75. January 2002; San Diego, California; Michael V Berry; Making light of mathematics.

76. January 2003; Baltimore, Maryland; David B Mumford; The shape of objects in two and three dimensions: Mathematics meets computer vision.

77. January 2004; Phoenix, Arizona; Eric S Lander; Biology as information.

78. January 2005; Atlanta, Georgia; Ingrid Daubechies; The interplay between analysis and algorithms.

79. January 2006; San Antonio, Texas; Michael Savageau; Function, Design and Evolution of Gene Circuitry.

80. January 2007; New Orleans, Louisiana; Peter D Lax; Mathematics and Physics.

81. January 2008; San Diego, California; Avi Wigderson; Randomness - A computational complexity view.

82. January 2009; Washington, DC; Percy Deift; Integrable systems: a modern view.

83. January 2010; San Francisco, CA; Peter W Shor; Quantum channels and their capacities.

84. January 2011; New Orleans, LA; George Papanicolaou; Mathematical Problems in Systematic Risk.

85. January 2012; Boston, MA; Bradley Efron; A 250-year argument: Belief, behavior, and the bootstrap.

86. January 2013; San Diego, CA; Cédric Villani; On Disorder, Mixing and Equilibration.

87. January 2014; Baltimore, MD; Andrew Blake; Machines that see, powered by probability.

88. January 2015; San Antonio, Texas; Ronald Graham; Mathematics and computers: problems and prospects

89. January 2016; Seattle, Wasington; Daniel A. Spielman; Graphs, Vectors, and Matrices


Index of Societies Index of Honours, etc.
Main index Biographies Index

JOC/EFR October 2016

The URL of this page is:
http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/Societies/Gibbs_Lectures.html