Topic: Is Mathematics = Theoretical Physics?
Speaker: Professor Ronald E. Mickens, Distinguished Fuller E. Callaway Professor at Clark Atlanta University
Date & Time: Friday, October 9, 2009, 2:00 PM
Place: Room 140 VMC (Chambers Hall)
Mathematics is the language of physics! Such a sentiment has been expressed by many scientists and scholars in the history and philosophy of science. This issue is of great importance since, to date, all fundamental physical theories have been expressed in terms of mathematics. We give a brief history of the subject and provide (tentative) conclusions regarding the relationship between mathematics and theoretical physics.
Professor Ronald Elbert Mickens received his BA degree in physics from Fisk University (1964) and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Vanderbilt University (1968). He held postdoctoral positions at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics (1968-70), Vanderbilt University (1980-81), and the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics (1981-82). He was professor of physics at Fisk University from 1970 – 1981. Presently, he is the Distinguished Fuller E. Callaway Professor at Clark Atlanta University. His current research interests include nonlinear oscillations, asymptotic methods for difference and differential equations, numerical integration of differential equations, the mathematical modeling of periodic diseases, and the history/sociology of African Americans in science. He has published more than 280 peer-reviewed research articles, and written and/or edited 15 books. He serves on editorial boards of several research journals, including the Journal of Difference Equations and Applications and the International Journal of Evolution Equations. His scholarly writings have appeared in reference works such as African American Lives (Oxford University Press), American National Biography (Oxford University Press), and Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists (Marshall Cavendish). His honors include fellowships from the Ford, Woodrow Wilson, and National Science Foundations; and election to Phi Beta Kappa (1964). During 1998-99, he was an American Physical Society Centennial speaker (as part of the activities to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the APS). He also served as a Distinguished National Lecturer for Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society for 2000 – 2002. His professional memberships include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society (for which he is an elected Fellow), the History of Science Society, the Society for Mathematical Biology, and the American Mathematical Society.
Refreshments will be served at 1:45 PM