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Steve Gonek named fellow of American Mathematical Society

January 13, 2020
Steve Gonek in front of blackboard with mathematical formula.Steve Gonek, a professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Steve Gonek, a professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, has been named a 2020 fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for his “contributions to the study of the Riemann zeta function, and for service to the mathematical community.” Each year, the society names about 60 fellows out of its nearly 30,000 members. Gonek joins Rochester colleagues Fred Cohen, Allan Greenleaf, Alex Iosevich, Doug Ravenel, and Dinesh Thakur, who have previously been named AMS Fellows.

Thomas Tucker, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics, notes that 30 percent of the 20 tenure-track faculty members in the Rochester math department are now AMS Fellows.

“It is quite an elite honor, and for a department of our size, six fellows is quite a lot,” he says. “It speaks to the high quality of the research that goes on in the department.”

Gonek‘s work focuses on the behavior of the Riemann zeta function and L-functions, the distribution of their zeros, the distribution of prime numbers, and random matrix models in number theory. These functions have been used in applied statistics, probability theory, and quantum mechanics.

“Steve’s work has been highly influential in developments in analytic number theory over the last 35 years, and his leadership as both a researcher and organizer has helped shape the field,” Tucker says. “He is also an excellent expositor and an exceptional teacher at the graduate and undergraduate levels.”

Gonek joined the University in 1980, and, in 1998, received the Goergen Award for Distinguished Achievement and Artistry in Undergraduate Teaching. He received the Mercer Brugler Distinguished Teaching Professorship for 2015-2018.

In the early 1990s, Gonek designed and ran a mathematics camp for advanced math majors from various colleges, and he introduced workshops into mathematics courses at Rochester. With a colleague in the Department of Religion and Classics, he developed and teaches an interdisciplinary course on the concept of “the infinite.” The course will next be offered in spring 2020.

“I am honored and delighted to have been chosen as a fellow of the American Mathematical Society,” Gonek says. “It is always gratifying to be recognized by one’s peers.”

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Category: University News