A little more than three years ago, while attending the Conference for African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences at ICERM, I spontaneously announced to ICERM Associate Director Ulrica Wilson that I thought I would write a book about the heart of mathematics. Then I went ahead and did it. What was I thinking?! Publishing Mathematics: Rhyme and Reason is akin to undressing publicly. So, what ends up being exposed? Well, among other things, I place in plain view relationships with people in my mathematical upbringing, some of whom popped into my life for better and, at least once, for worse. One will also see my life-long attachment to the simple truths of mathematics. The book is a message to the kid I was, with the assumption that such kids still exist. I present a large collection of theorems and call them nursery rhymes in the book, though I didn’t stumble across a few of them until I was well beyond nursery-rhyme age. I also write about whether or not I have ever managed to scratch the surface of mathematics. I plan to spend the allotted time discussing these matters and more. Come one, come all, we’re going to have a ball.

This is a pre-conference event for the Blackwell-Tapia Conference and is open to the public.

Double feature! Check out Dr. Arlie Petters' Cosmic Shadows, Other Worlds, and a Fifth Dimension public lecture occurring at 4pm the same day at ICERM.

About the Speaker

After receiving a BA degree in Mathematics and Economics from Yale College in 1970, Dr. Mel Currie worked in his hometown Pittsburgh as an economic analyst with Gulf Oil Corporation. He then spent three years in Germany, where he taught algebra in the Düsseldorf public school system. After returning from Germany, he earned MA and PhD degrees in mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh. Seven years in academia followed graduate school. Dr. Currie joined the National Security Agency in 1990 and in 1994 became chief of the Crypto-mathematical Applications Branch. He moved to the Cryptography Office in 1996, where he was Chief of the Cryptographic Research and Design Division, the Codemakers. His position at retirement was Research Advocate reporting directly to the Director of Research, NSA. He is the recipient of many awards. In particular, he was the inaugural recipient of NSA's Crypto-Mathematics Institute's Leadership Award.