The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series

Michael Moody, Former Chair of the Department of Mathematics The Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Department has established a lecture series in honor of Michael Moody.

Under his leadership as chair from 1996–2002, the mathematics department revised its curriculum, rejuvenated the senior thesis program, and tripled the number of majors. Mike was a guiding force that led to our department being awarded the American Mathematical Society's inaugural award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department in 2006.

He also founded an evening lecture series that brought speakers to the College who illuminated the joy, wonder, and applicability of mathematics and that attracted hundreds of students. The lecture series, now in Michael's name, continues this tradition.

Professor Moody passed away in January, 2010. Our department—and many students, faculty, staff and friends within its community—have benefited from his extraordinary legacy.

The Next Lecture

Professor Karen Saxe, 2016 Moody Lecture Speaker

Professor Karen Saxe of Macalester College will present the eleventh lecture in The Michael E. Moody Lecture Series on “Mathematics & Social Justice”.

Karen Saxe is DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College in St Paul, MN. She has been awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award by the Mathematical Association of America, and the Macalester College Excellence in Teaching Award.

She is active with policy and advocacy activities for both the MAA and the Association for Women in Mathematics, and will assume the position as Director of the Washington DC Office of the American Mathematical Society on January 1, 2017, where she will work to connect the mathematics community with Washington decision makers who impact science and education funding.

Karen has been a resource in Minnesota on redistricting, consulting with city governments, and served on the Minnesota Citizens' Redistricting Commission, created to draw congressional districts following the 2010 census. She also serves on the Advisory Board for Transforming Post-Secondary Education in Mathematics (TPSE Math), an initiative sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, aiming to effect constructive change in mathematics education at community colleges, 4-year colleges and research universities.

On her most recent sabbatical she served as the 2013–2014 AMS/AAAS Science and Technology Policy Congressional Fellow, working in Congress for MN Senator Al Franken.

More information about Karen Saxe is available from her website.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at 7:00 PM, in HMC's Shanahan Center Auditorium.


Societal inequalities pose some of the biggest and most intractable challenges facing our nation today. Can mathematical concepts help us understand and analyze social inequality? What is the relationship between various imbalances in the U.S. today such as those we see in income distribution and political polarization? This talk will explore answers to these questions. We will focus on a few quantitative approaches that mathematicians and political scientists use to measure inequalities. The metrics we will look at include the Gini Index for measuring income inequality, and the Roeck measure for detecting gerrymandering. We’ll also discuss how our political environment and policies can reduce or intensify inequalities in society.


Harvey Mudd College is located at 301 Platt Blvd, Claremont CA 91711, in the eastern Los Angeles area.

The closest airport is Ontario International Airport (ONT), and we strongly recommend that you fly to Ontario rather than one of the other Los Angeles area airports. Ontario International Airport is about eight miles away from the college.

The college provides driving directions from various points in Southern California.

Map with driving directions to Harvey Mudd College.

Free parking is available in the parking lots indicated in the map above or anywhere along 12th Street or Dartmouth Avenue below 12th Street.

About Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College is a private, liberal arts undergraduate institution of science, engineering and mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College recently received the 2006 AMS Award for Exemplary Department or Program from the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

The college enrolls about 750 students of high ability; a third of them are National Merit Finalists and each year there are over 35 graduates in mathematics, with approximately half going on to graduate school. HMC is a member of the Claremont College consortium, which includes four other undergraduate colleges (Pomona, Claremont McKenna, Scripps, Pitzer) and two graduate institutions (Claremont Graduate University and Keck Graduate Institute), forming an academic community of about 5000 students. There is an active research community of over 40 mathematicians in Claremont, with faculty seminars in analysis, topology, algebra and combinatorics, and applied mathematics.

Claremont is situated approximately 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. The community is known for its tree-lined streets and village charm. It is an easy drive from Claremont to the cultural attractions of the greater Los Angeles area, as well as the ocean, mountains and deserts of southern California.

To learn more about mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, please visit the department's home page.

Michael Moody Teaching Outside the Olin Science Building Professor Michael Moody teaching students on the Olin Plaza, circa 1998.

Previous Lectures