National organization honors math professor
By Tim Crosby
CARBONDALE, Ill. — A national mathematics organization
has honored a professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for
his achievements as a scholar.
The Mathematical Association of America recently named
Salah E. A. Mohammed as this year's David Blackwell Lecturer for the
group's annual event. Mohammed is a professor and distinguished scholar
in the Department of Mathematics in the College of Science.
Mohammed, who in 2006 was honored as SIUC's outstanding
scholar, will give the lecture during MAA's annual MathFest, set for
July 30Aug. 2 in Madison, Wis. MathFest is one of the largest summer
meetings for mathematicians throughout the country, drawing more than
1,400 last year to San Jose, Calif.
Mohammed will give a lecture titled "Random Dynamics and
Memory: Structure Within Chaos," at 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1. You can find
an abstract of the lecture at http://sfde.math.siu.edu/Blackwellabstract1.pdf.
The National Association of Mathematicians, a nonprofit
group that holds increasing the number of mathematicians among
underrepresented populations as one of its goals, sponsors the
Blackwell Lecturer. The lecture is named for David H. Blackwell, a
noted AfricanAmerican mathematician who earned his doctorate in 1941
at the University of Illinois at age 22, making him one of the first
blacks to do so. The first such lecture occurred in 1994.
Blackwell became a professor of statistics at the
University of California Berkeley in 1954, serving as chair of that
department for years. He broke down many barriers for black
mathematicians during his career.
Mohammed is a world leader in the field of stochastic
analysis, which looks at random systems and variables as they cause
changes over time. Examples of such systems include weather patterns,
sporting events and stock markets, all of which are influenced by
numerous factors and simple chance. He focuses his work on
understanding such systems and predicting in mathematical terms how
they will likely evolve.
Andrew G. Earnest, chair of the mathematics department
at SIUC, said Mohammed is well deserving of the honor, which recognizes
not only his fundamental research contributions, but also his talent
for mathematical exposition.
"The lecture will provide valuable visibility for our
department in the national mathematical community, particularly among
members of groups traditionally underrepresented in our discipline,"
Earnest said. "As many students, at both undergraduate and graduate
levels, attend the MathFest, this could have longterm benefits for our
efforts to recruit diverse, highly qualified faculty and graduate
students to SIUC."
Mohammed joined the faculty at SIUC in 1984 after
earning his doctorate in mathematics in 1976 at the University of
Warwick, England. He became a full professor at SIUC in 1989. Past
honors include holding a visiting professorship at the Mathematical
Sciences Research Institute at UC Berkeley. He also was a scientist in
residence at MittagLeffler Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. The
National Science Foundation has provided continuous support to Mohammed
during his time at SIUC.
He earned his bachelor's degree in 1970 at the
University of Khartoum in Sudan and his master's degree in 1972 at the
University of Dundee in Scotland.
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