Melvin Henriksen Memorial Conference Saturday, March 27, 2010

03/27/2010 - 8:15am

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

The conference is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, and the Claremont Center for the Mathematical Sciences (CCMS).The organizers are Professors Asuman Aksoy, and 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 from HMC Math department.) 

Speakers & Events:
All talks will take place in the Beckman Auditorium at Harvey Mudd College. The Beckman Auditorium is room B126, and is accessible from the Olin Science Building.

  • 8:15–9:00 AM Coffee 9:00–9:10 AM Official Welcome by Andrew Bernoff, Harvey Mudd College
  • 9:10–10:10 AM Remembering Mel Henriksen and (Some of) His Theorems W. Wistar Comfort, Wesleyan University
  • 10:20–11:00 AM Mel's Life as a Mathematician TBA
  • 11:00–11:15 AM Coffee
  • 11:15 AM–12:30 PM Talks by Mel's Students
    • 11:15 AM–11:35 AM SV Spaces: A Case Study in Mel's Enthusiasm for Mathematics Suzanne Larson, Loyola Marymouth University-Los Angeles
    • 11:40 AM–12:00 PM TBA Frank Smith, Kent State University
    • 12:05 PM–12:25 PM TBA Ted C.K. Chinburg, University of Pennsylvania
  • 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 TBA Garth Dales, University of Leeds
  • 2:45–3:45 PM Mathematical Reminiscences Mel at HMC Hank Krieger, Harvey Mudd College Mel and the Claremont Mathematics Community Sandy Grabiner, Pomona College Mel in the Mathematical World Don Johnson, New Mexico State University
  • 3:45–4:00 PM Coffee Break
  • 4:00–5:10 PM Talks by Mel's Collaborators
    • 4:00–4:20 PM Mel Henriksen in Winnipeg: 25 Years of Anecdotes and Theorems R. Grant Woods, University of Manitoba
    • 4:25–4:45 PM How Mel Drove Me to Asymmetry Ralph Kooperman, City College of New York
    • 4:50–5:10 PM Framing Mel Joanne Walters-Wayland, OCCTAL, Chapman University
  • 5:30–7:00 PM Dinner with All Invited Speakers

For more information and registration, please visit HMC Math Department website at

Conference Poster (pdf

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