June 1, 2007
On a bright, sunny day, dignitaries broke ground for the new American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) center in Morgan Hill, Calif. Local leaders and members of the area's mathematics community, including Congressman Jerry McNerney, met yesterday afternoon at the site to mark the official beginning of the much-anticipated project, which is scheduled to be finished in late 2009.
Modeled after the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, the privately financed, 166,000-square-foot complex (video) will cost about $50 million. Once operating at full capacity, the facility will be home to as many as 20 focused workshops each year and a number of smaller projects. A large, sprawling building will contain housing and dining facilities for workshop participants, as well as an extensive mathematics library and seminar rooms. The center will also host conferences and invited lectures, and it will provide local students with access to mathematical resources and chances to interact with prominent mathematicians. The Morgan Hill site is in a rural setting south of San Jose surrounded by 80,000 acres of public land.
AIM is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1994 by John Fry and Steve Sorenson, both Silicon Valley businessmen. The goals of AIM are to expand the frontiers of mathematical knowledge through focused research projects, sponsored conferences, and the development of an online mathematics library. In addition, AIM is interested in helping to preserve the history of mathematics through the acquisition and preservation of rare mathematical books and documents and in making these materials available to scholars.
AIM-sponsored collaborations have led to several recent mathematical advances, including the mapping of a complicated structure known as the exceptional Lie group E8 and significant progress in tackling the twin-prime conjecture. The latter achievement will be the subject of an invited lecture at this summer's MathFest.—R. Miller