MAA-NAM Blackwell Lecture
What is the "MAA-NAM David Harold Blackwell" Lecture?
Each year the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) honors mathematicians with invitations to deliver a lecture or series of lectures at its MathFest. Examples include the AMS-MAA-SIAM Gerald and Judith Porter Public Lecture, the AWM-MAA Falconer Lecture, the Hedrick Lectures, the James R. C. Leitzel Lecture, the MAA-NAM David Blackwell Lecture, and the Polya Lecture.
The MAA-NAM David Blackwell Lecture was officially started in 1994 with an inaugural address by Blackwell himself. David Harold Blackwell (April 24, 1919 -- July 8, 2010) is arguably the the most decorated African-American mathematician. In 1935, at the age of sixteen, he entered the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938, his Master of Arts in 1939 and his Doctorate in 1941; all in mathematics. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study from 1941-1942; mathematics department chair at Howard University from 1947-1954; and statistics department chair at the University of California at Berkeley from 1957-1961. He is best known for the Rao-Blackwell theorem in statistics which characterizes the transformation of an arbitrarily crude estimator into an estimator that is optimal by the mean-squared-error criterion.
Each year NAM invites a mathematical researcher who exemplifies the spirit of Blackwell in both personal achievement and service to the mathematical community. Blackwell first enrolled at the University of Illinois with the expectation to earn a degree in order to get a job as an elementary teacher. In an interview, Blackwell stated
I'm not interested in doing research and I never have been.... I'm interested in understanding, which is quite a different thing. The Blackwell Lecturer gives an hour-long lecture, suitable for an audience of undergraduate students with a strong interest in conducting research in the mathematical sciences, which will promote an understanding of mathematics.
Suggest the Next MAA-NAM David Blackwell Lecturer!
We welcome nominations for future MAA-NAM David Blackwell Lecturers! Please consider the following criteria:
- Blackwell Lecturers should be prepared to present a research talk to a general audience of undergraduates.
- We prefer speakers who have not given a Blackwell Lecture in the past.
- We seek a diversity of speakers. Please remember that our intended audience will feature a diversity of race/ethnicity, gender, age, and subject matter.
E-mail your nominations here:
Past MAA-NAM Blackwell Lecturers
Hidden Figures: My Role as a Math Consultant for this Film
Urban Analytics: The Case for Smart Parking
Mathematics, Mathematicians, Mathematics Education and Equity: Challenges and Opportunities
Markov Decision Processes, Turnpike Horizons and Blackwell Optimality
Bridging a Gap Between Creative Literacy and Quantitative Literacy: Using Poetry to Improve Quantitative Reasoning
The Marriage between Disease Dynamics and Mathematics: A History of Success
Using e-Mentoring to Prepare the Next Generation of Mathematics Teachers
The Riordan Group Revisited: From Algebraic Structure to RNA
Why Should I Care About Elliptic Curves?
Random Dynamics and Memory: Structure Within Chaos
Puzzling Probabilities Featuring the Street Game of Craps
Public Health and Mathematics: Some Emerging Challenges and Paradigms at the Interface
Modeling the Pharmacokinetics of a Chemical Used in Household Consumer Products
Mathematical Predictions and Aneurysm Treatment
Cars, Faces, and Flowers 22.5 Degrees of Separation: What Can Matrix Factorization Tell You?
Random Walks, Diffusion, and Energy Decay
2001: Madison WI MathFest #79
Limit Theorems for a Large Network in Which Customers Join the Shortest Queue Among Several
2000: Los Angeles CA MathFest #78
Singularity Theory and Gravitational Lensing
1999: Providence RI MathFest #77
Melvin Robert Currie (National Security Agency)
Wide Open Spaces
1998: Toronto CA MathFest #76
1997: Atlanta GA MathFest #75
Techniques for Visualizing Frequency Patterns in DNA
An Update on the No-Three-In Line Problem
Computational Ocean Acoustics
Large Derivations of Martingales
AMS-CMS-MAA-NAM Invited Address
Mathematical Research and Education in Africa -- Problems and Prospects
No NAM Events
MAA-NAM Invited Address
Intriguing Problems about Zeros in Complex Analysis