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How Inge Lehmann Discovered the Inner Core of the Earth

by Christianne Rousseau

Year of Award: 2014

Award: Pólya

Publication Information: College Mathematics Journal, vol. 44, no. 5, November 2013, pp. 399-408.

Summary (adapted from the MAA Prizes and Awards booklet for MathFest 2014): How can we determine what lies deep within the earth when we cannot travel there ourselves and cannot obtain direct measurements beyond a certain depth? The author points out, we can use our “mathematical eyes” to see. Her paper in the Mathematics of Planet Earth issue of The College Mathematics Journal provides a lesson in such mathematical sight of otherwise invisible geological features.

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About the Author: (From the MathFest 2014 MAA Prizes and Awards Booklet)

Christiane Rousseau studied at University of Montreal where she got her PhD in 1977. After postdoctoral studies at McGill she came back to University of Montreal where she became professor. She was Chair of her department from 1993 to 1997. During her whole career, she led in parallel research activities and outreach activities: lectures in the schools, organization of mathematical camps, and articles in mathematical magazines. She has specialized her teaching to future high school teachers. From 2002 to 2004, she was President of the Canadian Mathematical Society and she organized a Canada School Mathematics Forum in 2003. She is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Since 2011, she is Vice-president of the International Mathematical Union. When she was Director of Centre de Recherches Mathématiques in 2009, she initiated and coordinated the initiative “Mathematics of Planet Earth 2013” (MPE2013), which became an international year under the patronage of UNESCO.

Subject classification(s): Mathematics Technology
Publication Date: 
Friday, August 15, 2014