# Courant Lectures

The origin of the lectures dates back to Richard Courant’s 70th birthday on January 8, 1958, when his friends established a fund to endow a series of Courant Lectures to be delivered every two years. Kurt Friedrichs, who was chosen to present the gift, stated, “One may think that one of the roles mathematics plays in other sciences is that of providing law and order, rational organization and logical consistency, but that would not correspond to Courant's ideas. In fact, within mathematics proper Courant has always fought against overemphasis of the rational, logical, legalistic aspects of this science and emphasized the inventive and constructive, esthetic and even playful on the one hand and on the other hand those pertaining to reality. How mathematics can retain these qualities when it invades other sciences is an interesting and somewhat puzzling question. Here we hope our gift will help.”

In 2006, this venerable lecture series was re-invigorated through extremely generous endowment gifts from Dan Stroock, in memory of Alan M. Stroock, who was a long time supporter of NYU both financially and through his many years of service on the board of trustees, and by the Gopal Varadhan Foundation, established in memory of Mr.Varadhan, an alumnus of New York University, WSUC class of 1990, who lost his life in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The first speaker, in 1959, was Eugene Wigner, one of the greatest mathematical physicists of the 20th century. His talk, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” became quite famous and was subsequently published in Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics.

**The XXIXth Courant Lectures**April 24-April 25, 2014

Simon Donaldson, Imperial College London

"Kahler metrics and projective embedding I: approximation and asymptotics."

"Kahler metrics and projective embedding II: Gromov-Hausdorff limits."

**The XXVIIIth Courant Lectures**April 25-April 26, 2013

Bernhard Schölkopf, Max Planck

"Statistical and Causal Learning" and "Inference of Cause and Effect"

**The XXVIIth Courant Lectures**

March 30 & April 2, 2012

Daniel Spielman, Yale

"Algorithms, Graph Theory, and Laplacian Linear Equations" and "Sparsification of Graphs and Approximation of Matrices"

**The XXVIth Courant Lectures**April 7-8, 2011

Persi Diaconis, Stanford

"The Search for Randomness" and "Mathematical Analysis of 'Hit and Run' Algorithms"

**The XXVth Courant Lectures**

April 29-30, 2010

Alfio Quarteroni, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland and Politecnico di Milano, Italy

"Complexity reduction in the numerical approximation of Partial Differential Equations" and "Mathematical models for the cardiovascular system: analysis, numerical simulation, applications"

**The XXIVth Courant Lectures**

March 23-24, 2009

Emmanuel Candes, Caltech

“The amazing power of convex relaxation: the surprising story of compressive sensing” and “The amazing power of convex relaxation: the surprising story of matrix completion”**The XXIIIrd Courant Lectures**

March 12-13, 2008

Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University

“The Geography of Social and Information Networks” and “Modeling Social and Economic Exchange in Networks”**The XXIInd Courant Lectures**

March 23 & 26, 2007

Jean-Michel Bismut, Université Paris-Sud XI

“Traces, Determinants, and Probability Theory” and “Quillen metrics, the hypoelliptic Laplacian: the role and the functional integral” **The XXIst Courant Lectures**

November 20, 2003

Barbara Keyfitz, University of Houston

“What Studying Quasi-Steady Problems Can Tell Us About Steady Transonic Flow”

Sergiu Klainerman, Princeton University

“On the Mathematics of General Relativity and Nonlinear Wave Equations”**The XXth Courant Lectures**

April 2-3, 2003

Pierre-Louis Lions, (University)

“Atomic Physics to Nonlinear Elasticity: A Mathematical Attempt On Stochastic Partial Differential Equations”**The XIXth Courant Lectures**

March 26-27, 2002

Lawrence C. Evans, University of California, Berkeley

“Some PDE methods for weak KAM theory: Introduction and Heuristics” and “Some PDE methods for weak KAM theory: Estimates and Applications”**The XVIIIth Courant Lectures**

April 10-11, 2000

Ivar Ekeland, Université Paris-Dauphiine

“Nonlinear Problems Arising from Economic Theory: The Inverse Problem for Demand Functions” and “Nonlinear Problems Arising from Economic Theory: Variational Problems with Convexity Constraints”**The XVIIth Courant Lectures**

April 22, 1999

Herbert B. Keller, California Institute of Technology

“A New Theory for Differential Algebraic Equations”

April 23, 1999

Joseph B. Keller, Stanford University

“Option Pricing”**The XVIth Courant Lectures**

April 22-23, 1998

Paul Garabedian, New York University

“Supercritical Wing Sections and Computational Plasma Physics”**The XVth Courant Lectures**

April 14-15, 1997

Gordon Bell, Bay Area Research Center, Microsoft

“Telework” and “New Computer Classes: The Platforms, Interfaces, and Networks”**The XIVth Courant Lectures**

1997

Fang Hua Lin, New York University

“Energy Concentrations for the Ginzburg-Landau Equations” and “Minimal Submanifolds Vortices and filaments dynamics”**The XIIIth Courant Lectures**

March 7 – 8, 1996

Professor Gang Tian, New York University

“Nonlinear Equations in Complex Differential Geometry” and “Complex Monge-Ampere Equations and Moser-Onofri Type Inequalities”**The XIIth Courant Lectures**

October 7, 1988

Professor Roger Penrose, Oxford University

“Complex Geometry in Physics”**The XIth Courant Lectures**

October 7, 1988

Professor Richard Karp, University of California, Berkeley

“The Polynomial-time Frontier: Recent Development in Computational Complexity”**The Xth Courant Lectures**

October 6, 1988

Professor Clifford Taubes, Harvard University

“Stable Morse Theory for an Algebraic Variety’s Map into a Grassmanian”**The VIIIth & IXth Courant Lectures**

May 4 – 9, 1987

Robert E. Tarjan, Princeton University, AT&T Bell Laboratories

“New Themes in Data Structure Design”

Dennis P. Sullivan, Einstein Professor of Mathematics, Graduate Center of C.U.N.U and I.H.E.S., France

“Analysis on Quasi-Conformal Manifolds and Yang-Mills Fields”**The VIIth Courant Lectures**

April 29, 1982

Michael O. Rabin, Hebrew University, Jerusalem and Harvard University

“Randomization in Computation”**The VIth Courant Lectures**

April 28, 1982

William P. Thurston, Princeton University

“On the Geometry of Three-Manifolds”**The Vth Courant Lectures**

May 12, 1975

Chen Ning Yang, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1957

“Gauge Theory: An Example of Fiber Bundle Theory in Physics”**The IVth Courant Lectures **

Carl Ludwig Siegel, University of Goettingen**The IIIrd Courant Lectures**

Heinrich Hopf, ETH – Zurich**The IInd Courant Lectures**

Otto Neugebauer, Brown University

“The Sources of Medieval Mathematical Astronomy”**The Ist Courant Lectures**

May 11, 1959

Eugene P. Wigner, Princeton University

“The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences”