Mathematics takes the world stage during opening ceremonies and events for the ICM 2018, which runs through August 7 in Rio de Janeiro. (Credit: ICM 2018 Communications.)


As summer winds down and another academic year looms large in Aggieland, two Texas A&M University mathematicians are half a world away in Brazil among globally elite company, set to deliver public lectures as invited speakers at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, the first ever ICM held in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr. William B. Johnson, distinguished professor of mathematics, and Dr. Alexei Poltoratski, professor of mathematics, are joined this week by fellow eminent researchers from five continents at the Riocentro Convention Center in Rio de Janeiro's flagship neighborhood, Barra da Tijuca, a central location for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and currently the world's greatest stage for mathematics research and education.

ICM 2018 began last Wednesday (Aug. 1) and runs through Thursday (Aug. 9), offering a jam-packed, nine-day slate of plenary and invited lectures, short communications, poster sessions and other scientific activities. Nearly as grandiose as it is groundbreaking, the event is held every four years and is so large-scale that it is planned three years in advance.

Johnson and Poltoratski present on consecutive days this week as two of the 20 experts featured within the Analysis and Operator Algebras section, one of 19 within the overall ICM 2018 scientific program. Sectional lectures, typically 45 minutes, are intended to be representative of the major scientific achievements in each field of mathematics.

Johnson's lecture, "Some 20+ year-old problems about Banach spaces and operators on them," is set for 6 p.m. today (Aug. 7), while Poltoratski will present "Toeplitz methods in completeness and spectral problems" at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 8).

Dr. Emil J. Straube, professor and head of the Texas A&M Department of Mathematics, says the ICM is widely viewed as the single most prestigious venue in global mathematics for good reason. For starters, speaker selection is a coveted honor extended to only the best of the best mathematicians worldwide, including Straube himself in 2006 as well as six other current Texas A&M Mathematics faculty members in addition to Johnson and Poltoratski: Dr. Yalchin Efendiev in 2014; Dr. Ronald DeVore and Dr. Guoliang Yu in 2006; Dr. Gilles Pisier in 1998 and 1983; Dr. Rostislav Grigorchuk in 1990 and Dr. Ronald Douglas in 1978.

"The ICM, held only every four years, is the most prestigious venue in mathematics," Straube said. "Only the very top experts are invited to present a lecture. Drs. Johnson and Poltoratski are acknowledged leaders in their fields -- Banach space theory and harmonic analysis, respectively. Their work defines the frontiers of knowledge in their areas, and they are eminently deserving of this honor."

Johnson joined the Texas A&M Mathematics faculty in 1984 as a co-holder of the Arthur George and Mary Emolene Owen Chair in Mathematics, earning appointment as a distinguished professor in 1989. As one of the namesakes of the Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma, or theorem, he is considered one of the most outstanding contemporary mathematicians pursuing studies in the field of functional analysis and its applications. Johnson's works have made significant contribution to mathematical sciences pointing to development directions of various branches of linear and non-linear functional analysis -- the scope of which also encompasses the theory of probability and its links with the theory of Banach spaces, his primary specialty. He was recognized with the Polish Academy of Sciences' Stefan Banach Medal in 2007 and named an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2012.

Poltoratski joined the Texas A&M Mathematics faculty in 1998 after receiving both his masters of science and doctorate in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1995. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and was a C.L.E. Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prior to coming to Texas A&M, where his research focuses on complex and harmonic analysis, singular integrals and spectral problems. Poltoratski served as honorary editor in 2015 for the 150th anniversary issue of the oldest Russian mathematics journal, Mat. Sbornik. In addition, he was a Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) lecturer in 2013 as well as a distinguished visiting professor at Brown University in 2015-2016.

For more on Johnson and his research, visit http://www.math.tamu.edu/~johnson/.

For more on Poltoratski and his research, visit http://www.math.tamu.edu/~alexei.poltoratski/.

To learn more about the International Congress of Mathematicians, go to http://www.icm2018.org/.

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Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@tamu.edu or Dr. Emil J. Straube, (979) 845-6028 or straube@math.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

  • Dr. William B. Johnson

    Texas A&M University mathematicians William Johnson (above) and Alexei Poltoratski (below) are invited speakers at the International Congress of Mathematicians 2018, a coveted honor reserved for the top mathematicians worldwide.

  • Dr. Alexei Poltoratski

  • (Credit: ICM 2018 Communications.)

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