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Melvin Henriksen Memorial Conference

Melvin Henriksen at the chalkboard

Saturday, March 27, 2010
Department of Mathematics
Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, California

General Information

The Department of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College hosted the Melvin Henriksen Memorial Conference in remembrance of the life and work of Melvin Henriksen, Professor Emeritus at Harvey Mudd College.

The conference was sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College and the Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences (CCMS).

The organizers were Professors Asuman Aksoy, Sandy Grabiner, and Andrew Bernoff.

About Melvin Henriksen

Melvin Henriksen, professor of mathematics emeritus at Harvey Mudd College, passed away on October 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 82. A significant portion of his life was spent at Harvey Mudd College where he served as a professor of mathematics from 1969 to 1997. After retiring, he remained an active member of the mathematics community in Claremont and beyond.

Henriksen was well-known in the mathematics community for his work on the study of rings of continuous functions, which involves the interplay of algebra and topology. As a major innovator in a part of topology developed mostly in the second half of the twentieth century, his work on “rings of continuous functions” helped create a new field of mathematics that combines topology with modern algebra.

Henriksen graduated from the City College of New York with a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1948. He received his master's and Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in 1948 and 1951. While serving as a faculty member at HMC, Henriksen also served briefly as a visiting professor in the department of mathematics at Wesleyan University. Before coming to Mudd, he taught math at Case Western Reserve University, Purdue University, Wayne State University, University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin.

Henriksen belonged to the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America and the National Association of Mathematics. He also directed 11 Ph.D. dissertations, seven at Purdue University, one at Case Western Reserve University and three at Claremont Graduate University.

(Read the full obiturary.)

Speakers & Events

All talks took place in the Beckman Auditorium at Harvey Mudd College.

8:15–9:00 AM
9:00–9:10 AM
Official Welcome by Andrew Bernoff, Harvey Mudd College
9:10–10:10 AM
W. Wistar Comfort, Wesleyan University
Remembering Mel Henriksen and (Some of) His Theorems (abstract)
10:20–11:00 AM
Mel's Life as a Mathematician
11:00–11:15 AM
11:15 AM–12:30 PM
Talks by Mel's Students
11:15 AM–11:35 AM
Suzanne Larson, Loyola Marymount University-Los Angeles
SV Spaces: A Case Study in Mel's Enthusiasm for Mathematics (abstract)
11:40 AM–12:00 PM
Frank Smith, Kent State University
Mel and His Regular Ideals (abstract)
12:05 PM–12:25 PM
Ted C.K. Chinburg, University of Pennsylvania
Mel, Blues Piano, and Automorphisms of Power-Series Rings (abstract)
12:30–1:30 PM
Lunch Break, Aviation Room
(Aviation Room is located inside the Hoch–Shanahan Dining Hall at HMC.)
1:40–2:40 PM
Garth Dales, University of Leeds
Large Fields from Algebras of Continuous Functions—Ramifications of a Seminal Paper of Erdős, Gillman, and Henriksen (abstract)
2:45–3:45 PM
Mathematical Reminiscences
Hank Krieger, Harvey Mudd College
Mel at HMC
Sandy Grabiner, Pomona College
Mel and the Claremont Mathematics Community
Don Johnson, New Mexico State University
Mel in the Mathematical World
3:45–4:00 PM
Coffee Break
4:00–5:10 PM
Talks by Mel's Collaborators
4:00–4:20 PM
R. Grant Woods, University of Manitoba
Mel Henriksen in Winnipeg: 25 Years of Anecdotes and Theorems (abstract)
4:25–4:45 PM
Ralph Kopperman, City College of New York
How Mel Drove Me to Asymmetry (abstract)
4:50–5:10 PM
Joanne Walters-Wayland, OCCTAL, Chapman University
Framing ‘Mel’ (abstract)

Conference Poster

Memorial Conference poster image.Please feel free to download our Conference Poster, print it, and display it at your institution.