Athens, Ga. – Erik Demaine, the Esther and Harold Edgerton Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will deliver the 13th annual Cantrell Lectures April 11-13 in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences department of mathematics on the University of Georgia campus.
Demaine entered Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia at the age of 12 and completed his bachelor’s degree when only 14. His Ph.D., a seminal work in the field of “computational origami,” was completed at the University of Waterloo, also in Canada. This work was awarded one of the four NSERC Doctoral Prizes given in 2003 for the best doctoral thesis in Canada.
In the same year he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, sometimes called the “genius grant,” and he joined the MIT faculty in 2001 at age 20, reportedly the youngest professor in the history of the Institute. He is currently a member of the Theory of Computation group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence and is also an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
Demaine has co-authored more than 100 papers on such topics as data structures, bio-informatics and the mathematical obstacles to winning at Tetris. He’s drawn to the unexpected: “You just look at something you normally see in a different way and think, ‘Gee, I wonder if there’s some mathematics behind that?'”
Demaine’s lectures, which are open free to the public, include:
* “Origami, Linkages and Polyhedra: Folding with Algorithms,” on Wednesday, April 11, at 3:30 p.m. in room 202 of the Physics Building;
* “Mathematics Meets Art, Puzzles, and Magic: Fun with Algorithms,” on Thursday, April 12, at 3:30 p.m. in room 328 of the Boyd Graduate Studies Building; and
* “Linkage Folding: From Erdõs to Proteins,” on Friday, April 13, at 3:30 p.m. in room 328 of the Boyd Graduate Studies Building.
The Cantrell lectures were started in 1994, in honor of Professor Emeritus James Cantrell. Past speakers include John Milnor, Michael Atiyah, Vaughan Jones and Steven Smale, recipients of the Fields medal, the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
For further information, the web site explaining the events in the Cantrell series is: http://www.math.uga.edu/seminars_conferences/demaine.pdf.