John J. Gergen Memorial Lectures

One to two times a year, the Math Department sponsors lectures named in honor of Professor John J. Gergen (1903-1967), former chairman of the department. These lecture feature the prominent mathematicians of our time.

Professor John J. Gergen

John Jay Gergen was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 17, 1903. He received a B.A. from the University of Minnesota (1925) and a Ph.D. from Rice (1928). As a National Research fellow (1928-1930), he visited Princeton, Oxford, the University of Paris and the University of Clermont. He was a Benjamin Pierce Instructor at Harvard (1930-1933) and an assistant professor at the University of Rochester (1933-1936). He came to Duke University as an associate professor in 1936 and was promoted to professor in 1939.

Professor Gergen served as chairman of the department from 1937 until July 1966, when he resigned the chairmanship owing to illness (esophagal cancer). During his time as department chairman he also served as acting director of the mathematical sciences division of the Office of Ordnance Research for the U.S. Army (1951-1961). Professor Gergen was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. His mathematical interests were in analysis, particularly differential equations.

Professor Gergen married Aubigne Munger Lermond on June 11, 1931. They had four children: John Andrew, Kenneth Jay, Stephen Lermond, and David Richmond. He died at Duke Hospital in January 1967.

Previous lectures series have been given by:

  • 2016, April 5-7, Luis Caffarelli, University of Texas at Austin
  • 2016, March 21-24, Francis Brown, All Souls College, University of Oxford
  • 2014, March 4-6, László Lovász, Eötvös Loránd University
  • 2012, October 17-18, Alice Guionnet, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2012, Febuary 28-29, Jordan S. Ellenberg, University of Wisconsin
  • 2011, Febuary 28-March 2, Andrei Zelevinsky, Northeastern University
  • 2010, September 27-October 1, Felix Otto, Max Plank Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences
  • 2009, April 6-8, Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University
  • 2008, May 5-7, Cedric Villani, Unité de Mathématiques Pures et Appliquées
  • 2008, March 25-27, Richard Schoen, Stanford University
  • 2006, April 26-28, Leslie Greengard, Courant Institute
  • 2006, March 21-23, Gang Tian, Princeton University
  • 2004, March 1-3: Bernd Sturmfels, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2001, October 22-26: Percy Deift, the Courant Institute, New York University
  • 2000, October 23-25: Sir Roger Penrose, Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University
  • 2000, September 25-26: Martin Nowak, Director of Theoretical Biology at the Institute for Advanced Study
  • 2000: Leo P. Kadanoff, University of Chicago
  • 1999: Gerhard Huisken, Universität Tübingen
  • 1998: Stephen Semmes, Rice University
  • 1996: Peter Sarnak, Princeton University
  • 1995: Andrew Majda, Princeton University
  • 1994: Curt McMullen, UC Berkeley
  • 1993: Robert MacPherson, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
  • 1992: George Papanicolaou, Courant Institute, New York University
  • 90/91: Blaine Lawson, SUNY, Stony Brook University
  • 89/90: Peter Lax, Courant Institute, New York University
  • 87/88: Edward Nelson, Princeton University
  • 86/87: Shing Tung Yau, Harvard University
  • 85/86: John W. Morgan, Columbia University
  • 84/85: Frederick J. Almgren, Jr., Princeton University
  • 83/84: Richard Shore, Cornell University
  • 82/83: Gilbert Strang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 81/82: Cathleen S. Morawetz, Courant Institute, New Your University
  • 80/81: Charles C. Conley, University of Minnesota
  • 79/80: James Glimm, New York University

  • 78/79: Mark Kac, Rockefeller University
  • 77/78: Phillip Griffiths, Provost, Duke University
  • 76/77: Victor Guillemin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 75/76: Dennis Hejhal, University of Minnesota
  • 74/75: Charles Fefferman, Princeton University
  • 73/74: Andre Weil, Institute for Advanced Study
  • 72/73: Raoul Bott, Harvard University
  • 71/72: Andrew Gleason, Harvard University
  • 70/71: I. M. Singer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 69/70: Walter Rudin, University of Wisconsin