Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences scheduled for March 21, 22 and 23

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Avi Wigderson, Herbert H. Maass Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, will present the 2016/2017 Russell Marker Lectures in the Mathematical Sciences on March 21, 22 and 23 at Penn State on the University Park Campus. The free public lectures are sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science.

The series includes a lecture intended for a general audience, titled “Randomness,” which will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, in 114 McAllister Building. Wigderson will also give three specialized lectures in 114 McAllister Building: “Operator Scaling – Theory and Applications” at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22; “Commutative and Non-Commutative Rank of Symbolic Matrices” at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 23; and “Structural and Computational Aspects of Brascamp-Lieb Inequalities” at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 23.

Wigderson’s research interests include computational complexity theory, algorithms, parallel and distributed computation, combinatorics and graph theory, cryptography, randomness, and pseudorandomness.

Wigderson’s awards and honors include being an invited speaker in 1990 and 1994 and presenting the plenary lecture in 2006 at the International Congress of Mathematicians. He was presented with the Nevanlinna Prize for outstanding contributions in mathematical aspects of information sciences in 1994. He was an invited speaker at the American Mathematical Society’s Gibbs Lectures and the recipient of the Conant Prize in 2008. Wigderson was the recipient of the Gödel Prize, which recognizes outstanding papers in theoretical computer science in 2009. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Wigderson earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, in 1980 and a doctoral degree in computer science at Princeton University in 1983. Since then he has held permanent positions at the Hebrew University Computer Science Institute, where he was the chair from 1992-95, and at the Institute for Advanced Study School of Mathematics, heading their computer science and discrete math program since 1999. He has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley; IBM Research; the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Princeton University; and the Institute for Advanced Study.

The Marker Lectures were established in 1984 through a gift from Russell Earl Marker, professor emeritus of chemistry at Penn State, whose pioneering synthetic methods revolutionized the steroid-hormone industry and opened the door to the current era of hormone therapies, including the birth-control pill. The Marker endowment allows the Penn State Eberly College of Science to present annual Marker Lectures in astronomy and astrophysics, the chemical sciences, evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the mathematical sciences, and physics. For more information about the lectures or for access assistance, contact Kendra Stauffer at (814) 865-8462 or

Last Updated March 15, 2017