Distinguished Mathematician Explores Computational Biology at Colorado State’s Public Magnus Lecture

The interaction between algebra and statistics used in the computational biology of DNA sequences will be the subject of talks by distinguished mathematician Bernd Sturmfels, who will present Colorado State University’s 2005 Arne Magnus lectures March 21-23. All presentations are free and open to the public.

Sturmfels, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, will use his creation-the fictional character DiaNa-to explore computational biology in his presentation, "Algebraic Statistics for Computational Biology," at 7 p.m. March 21 in Room 104 Yates Hall.

Sturmfels currently studies algebraic methods in statistics and computational biology at Berkeley, where he has been professor of mathematics and computer science since 1995.

Sturmfels will present "Tropical Geometry," a lecture suitable for undergraduates, at 4:10 p.m. March 22 in Room A207 Clark Building. He will discuss the theory of the tropical semiring, with a particular emphasis on plane curves and linear spaces.

Sturmfels will conclude the Arne Magnus series with a discussion on models in algebraic statistics, specifically looking at the likelihood function as a rational function on a projective variety. "Solving the Likelihood Equations" will be presented at 4:10 p.m. March 23 in Room 120 Engineering Building.

Strumfels received doctoral degrees in mathematics in 1987 from the University of Washington-Seattle and the Technical University Darmstadt in Germany.

After two post-doctoral years at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in Minneapolis and the Research Institute for Symbolic Computation in Linz, Austria, he taught at Cornell University.  

During his career, Sturmfels has been awarded the National Young Investigator Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship. Sturmfels served as von Neumann Professor at Technical University Munich in the summer of 2002, the Hewlett-Packard Research Professor at MSRI Berkeley in 2003/2004 and was a Clay Senior Scholar in 2004.

As a leading experimentalist among mathematicians, Sturmfels is author or editor of 13 books and some 140 research articles in the areas of combinatorics, algebraic geometry, symbolic computation and their applications.

Sturmfels’ presentations are part of the Spring 2005 Magnus Lecture Series, which is sponsored by the Magnus Memorial Lecture Series Endowment and the Albert C. Yates Endowment in Mathematics. The Magnus Lectures are delivered annually at Colorado State in honor of former mathematics professor Arne Magnus.  

Each spring since 1993, Colorado State’s mathematics department has welcomed an outstanding researcher to campus to deliver a series of lectures for the general public as well as for professionals within mathematics and related fields.  

For more information on the Magnus Lecture Series and Strumfels’ presentations, call the mathematics department at (970) 419-1303.