The Clifford Lectures


Clifford Lectures March 2015

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Alfred Hoblitzelle Clifford

Alfred Hoblitzelle Clifford was an analyst by training but soon became interested in ordered semigroups and eventually in semigroups in general. He is best known for his work on this subject, which is among the most penetrating and insightful. His book, The Algebraic Theory of Semigroups, vol. 1 (1961), vol. 2 (1967), with G.B. Preston, became the first and foremost text on the subject in the West.

Alfred Clifford joined Tulane University in 1955 as head of the Mathematics Department at Newcomb College until its merger with the Arts and Sciences Mathematics Department. In the early 1980's Alfred Clifford made a generous donation to the Department, the income from which has been used to organize an annual Lecture series. Two years after his death in 1992 a special conference on semigroups was held in his memory.

The Lectures

Since 1984 the Mathematics Department at Tulane University has held the annual Clifford Lectures, a week-long series of talks by a distinguished mathematician. A mini-conference is held in conjunction with each of the Clifford Lecture series. A unique feature of the conference is that the other invited speakers are selected by the Clifford Lecturer. Past Clifford Lecturers have included Field Medalists, members of the National Academy of Sciences and many other distinguished scientists. The complete list is below.

The Lecturers

Year Lecturer University Title


Charles Fefferman Princeton University “The Uncertainty Principle”


*S. T. Yau University of California, San Diego “Function Theory on Complete Manifolds with Non-Negative Ricci Eurvature”


*William Thurston Princeton University “Three Dimensional Manifolds”


Saharon Shelah Hebrew University “Non-Structure Theory: How to Build Many Complicated Structures”


Clifford Taubes Harvard “Moduli Spaces and Mapping Spaces: Topology and P.D.E.”


Charles Peskin Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences “Mathematical Biology”


Haim Brezis Université de Paris VI “Liquid Crystals”


Sylvian Cappell Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences “Singular Spaces and Intersection Homology”


Nigel Hitchen University of Warwick “Flat Connections and Their Applications”


Persi Diaconis Harvard University “Geometry and Randomness”


    Conference on Semigroup Theory and Its Applications in Memory of Alfred H. Clifford


Peter Sarnak Princeton University “General Overview of Spectral Problems Coming from Arithmetical Manifolds”

1996 (Spring)

Dan Volculescu University of California, Berkeley “An Introduction to Free Probability Theory”

1996 (Fall)

Paul Fife University of Utah “Mathematical Issues in the Dynamics of Phase Transitions”

1997 (Spring)

    "Spring Clifford Conference in Partial Differential Equations"

1997 (Fall)

Peter Kronheimer Harvard University “Four-Dimensional Geometry and Symplectic Topology”


Peter Bickel Univeristy of California, Berkeley “The Method of Sieves in Non and Semiparametric Statistics”


Alexandre J. Chorin Univeristy of California, Berkeley “Optimal Prediction”


Robert Friedman Columbia University “Lie Groups, and String Theory”


Sergei N. Artemov City University of New York “Explicit Logic for Computer Science”


T. J. Pedley Cambridge University “Theoretical Fluid Mechanics in Biology”


Yakov Eliashberg Stanford University “Symplectic Field Theory”


Jonathan Borwein Dalhousie University "Experimental (Computational) Mathematics - and Its Philosophical Implications"


Not held due to Katrina


Eitan Tadmor University of Maryland "Computational and Analytical Strategies in Nonlinear Time-Dependent Problems"

2008 (Spring)

Samson Abramsky University of Oxford "Information Flow in Physics, Geometry, Logic and Computation"

2008 (Fall)

Bernd Sturmfels UC Berkeley Tropical Algebra

2010 (Spring)

Richard Stanley MIT Lattice Point Enumeration



Christopher Fuchs
Perimeter Institute
SIC Representations of Quantum States



Shmuel Weinberger
University of Chicago
Quantitative and Applied



Chi-Wang Shu
Brown University
Numerical Methods for Convection Dominated Partial Differential Equations



Peter Constantin
Princeton University
Local and Nonlocal, Deterministic and Stochastic Evolution Equations

*Fields Medal winners. Read more about the Fields Medal »

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