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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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