World math experts talk calculus

Douglas M. Kafury

Mathematicians came to the university from all over the world each with his or her own native language. However, when each speaker came to the podium to discuss the research he or she had done, everyone shared a language: the language of mathematics.

The Infinite Dimensional Analysis Conference, which began Feb. 9, hosted mathematical researchers from 15 different countries, according to the department of mathematical sciences’ Web site.

Infinite dimensional analysis is an extension of calculus. In basic calculus, only one variable is used, but infinite dimensional analysis uses an infinite amount of variables, said Andrew Tonge, chairman of the department of mathematical sciences and member of the organizing committee for the conference.

The five-day conference featured more than 50 lectures dealing with infinite dimensional analysis. Each of the presentations featured participants’ research, according to the department’s Web site.

The conference let many people share ideas about their research with one another and make new contacts to further their research, Tonge said.

Lawrence A. Harris, mathematics professor at the University of Kentucky, used the conference to learn more about the work of others in the field of infinite dimensional analysis, as well as to share his own findings.

“This is a chance for me to keep current in my field,” Harris said. “It’s also a chance for me to talk about my research and tell people what I’m doing, too.”

The conference gave participants a chance to solve problems that haven’t been solved, Tonge said.

“A lot of people think mathematics is all known, but it’s not at all,” Tonge said.

The conference wasn’t just about research. It was also a celebration of the lives and research of Kent State mathematics professor Richard Aron and Sean Dineen, mathematics professor from University College Dublin.Both have been leaders in the field for several decades.

Aron called it a humbling experience and said he was happy to see the number of people who came for the event.

Dineen said he was happy to see the diverse crowd to honor him and Aron.

“You sit there, and people say nice things about you all week,” Dineen said. “It’s almost like being at your own funeral.”

Tonge said it was a challenge to bring everything together because the conference was supposed to be relatively small with about 20 guests. However, as word spread, the number of guests grew substantially, Tonge said.

The conference was a joint venture between Kent State and the University of Valencia in Spain.

Contact science reporter Douglas M. Kafury at [email protected].