Hans Georg Bock is a German university professor for mathematics and scientific computing. He is managing director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing of the University of Heidelberg since 2005, and has been vice managing director from 1993 to 2004. Hans Georg Bock is a member of the European Mathematical Society’s committee for developing countries (CDC-EMS) and responsible member for the region of Asia therein. In appreciation of his merits with respect to Vietnamese-German relations and his role in the establishment of high performance scientific computing in Vietnam, he was awarded the honorary degree of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology in 2000. In 2003, he was awarded the Medal of Merit of the Vietnamese Ministry for Education and Training.

# Category: Math Nerd

## Andrew Wiles (British mathematician) was born on April 11, 1953

Sir Andrew John Wiles KBE FRS is a British mathematician and a professor at Princeton University, specializing in number theory. He is most famous for proving Fermat’s Last Theorem. Andrew Wiles is the son of Maurice Frank Wiles (1923–2005), the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford and Patricia Wiles. His father worked as the Chaplain at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, for the years 1952-55. Wiles was born in Cambridge, England, in 1953, and he attended King’s College School, Cambridge, and The Leys School, Cambridge. Wiles discovered Fermat’s Last Theorem on his way home from school when he was 10 years old. He stopped by his local library where he found a book about the theorem. Puzzled by the fact that the statement of the theorem was so easy that he, a ten-year old, could understand it, he decided to be the first person to prove it. However, he soon realized that his knowledge of mathematics was too small, so he abandoned his childhood dream, until 1986, when he heard that Ribet had proved Serre’s ε-conjecture and therefore established a link between Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Taniyama-Shimura conjecture. Wiles earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1974 after his study at Merton College, Oxford, and a Ph.D. in 1980, after his research at Clare College, Cambridge. After a stay at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey in 1981, Wiles became a professor at Princeton University. In 1985-86, Wiles was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques near Paris and at the École Normale Supérieure. From 1988 to 1990, Wiles was a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, and then he returned to Princeton. In October 2009 it was announced that Wiles would again become a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford in 2011.

## Tom Lehrer (American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician) was born on April 9, 1928

Thomas Andrew Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, and mathematician. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. Lehrer is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. His work often parodies popular song forms, such as in “The Elements”, where he sets the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the “Major-General’s Song” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Lehrer’s earlier work typically dealt with non-topical subject matter and was noted for its black humor, seen in songs such as “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park”. In the 1960s, he produced a number of songs dealing with social and political issues of the day, particularly when he wrote for the U.S. version of the television show That Was The Week That Was. In the early 1970s, he retired from public performances to devote his time to teaching mathematics and music theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He did two additional performances in 1998 at a London gala show celebrating the career of impresario Cameron Mackintosh.

## Mark Spencer (computer engineer) was born on April 8, 1977

Mark Spencer is an American computer engineer and is the original author of the GTK+-based instant messaging client Gaim (which has since been renamed to Pidgin), the L2TP daemon l2tpd and the Cheops Network User Interface. Mark Spencer is also the creator of Asterisk, a Linux-based open-sourced PBX in software. He is the founder, chairman and CTO of Digium, an open-source telecommunications supplier most notable for its development and sponsorship of Asterisk. Spencer shifted from CEO to Chairman and CTO in early 2007.

## Shing-Tung Yau (Chinese American mathematician) was born on April 4, 1949

Shing-Tung Yau is a Chinese American mathematician working in differential geometry. He was born in Shantou, Guangdong Province, China into a family of scholars from Jiaoling, Guangdong Province. Yau’s contributions have had an influence on both physics and mathematics. Calabi–Yau manifolds are among the ‘standard toolkit’ for string theorists today. He has been active at the interface between geometry and theoretical physics. His proof of the positive energy theorem in general relativity demonstrated—sixty years after its discovery—that Einstein’s theory is consistent and stable. His proof of the Calabi conjecture allowed physicists—using Calabi-Yau compactification—to show that string theory is a viable candidate for a unified theory of nature.

## Gene H. Golub (preeminent numerical analysts of his generation) was born on February 29, 1932

Gene Howard Golub was one of the preeminent numerical analysts of his generation. Born in Chicago, he was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving his B.S. (1953), M.A. (1954) and Ph.D. (1959) all in mathematics. His M.A. degree was more specifically in Mathematical Statistics. His PhD dissertation was entitled “The Use of Chebyshev Matrix Polynomials in the Iterative Solution of Linear Equations Compared to the Method of Successive Overrelaxation” and his thesis adviser was Abraham Taub. He had been at Stanford since 1962 and became a professor there in 1970. He had advised almost thirty doctoral students, many of whom have themselves achieved distinction. Gene Golub was an important figure in numerical analysis and pivotal to creating the NA-Net and the NA-Digest, as well as the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

## Ravi Vakil (American-Canadian mathematician) was born on February 22, 1970

Ravi D. Vakil is an American-Canadian mathematician working in algebraic geometry. Vakil attended high school at Martingrove Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke, Ontario, where he won several mathematical contests and olympiads. After earning a BSc and MSc from the University of Toronto in 1992, he completed a Ph.D. in mathematics at Harvard University in 1997 under Joe Harris. He has since been an instructor at both Princeton University and MIT. Since the fall of 2001, he has taught at Stanford University, becoming a full professor in 2007. Vakil is an algebraic geometer and his research work spans over enumerative geometry, topology, Gromov–Witten theory, and classical algebraic geometry. He has solved several old problems in Schubert calculus. Among other results, he proved that all Schubert problems are enumerative over the real numbers, a result that resolves an issue mathematicians have worked on for at least two decades.