1997 › Martin Golubitsky
*19th Farfel Recipient*
Department of Mathematics
Cullen Distinguished Professor of Mathematics
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Martin Golubitsky thought deeply before
embarking on a career in mathematics. “I always knew I enjoyed
doing mathematics,” he explains. “But I wasn’t quite
sure that one could actually make a career of it.” In the years
since he received his doctorate from MIT, Professor Golubitsky has
demonstrated that it is indeed possible to do mathematics for a
living.
Professor Golubitsky has co-authored two
non-technical trade books, Symmetry and Chaos (with Mike Field)
and Fearful Symmetry (with Ian Stewart), in addition to dozens of
scholarly papers and several textbooks. “Something that I’ve
always striven for in my career and in the problems I work on is
that they should be interesting,” Professor Golubitsky remarks,
adding “whatever truth is, it doesn’t exist by itself
in a vacuum. Mathematics is much more alive in this sense than I
think many people realize.”
Professor Golubitsky serves as chair of
the Farfel Selection Committee this year. It is a difficult task,
given that there are so many fine faculty members at the University
of Houston. “The fact that it is a combination of research
excellence, teaching, and service,” he comments, “is what
makes the award so special. The Farfel Award is an important symbol
of university approval and appreciation.” Professor Golubitsky
smiles, adding, “Of course, the main thing is the sense of
honor that goes with the award. It makes you feel terrific.”
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