MATH DRAWS INTERNATIONAL SCHOLARS TO UIC
The University of Illinois at Chicago will host two internationally known mathematicians as part of a new collaborative research exchange between Kazakh and American scholars.
The exchange, organized by John Baldwin, UIC professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science, brings together mathematicians from UIC and the Kazakhstan Institute for Informatics and Control Problems to share knowledge, theory and research. Participating in the exchange are visiting mathematicians Bektur Baizhanov and Viktor Verbovskiy, who are both teachers at the institute.
Baizhanov, who arrived in Chicago on March 20, will conduct research and lead graduate seminars at UIC through mid-June. Verbovskiy will spend two months at UIC during the fall 2001 semester.
Beginning in mid-June, Baldwin and UIC colleague Marco Gilberto Mazzucco will travel to the Kazakhstan capital city of Almaty for two weeks of research and teaching. UIC mathematics professor David Marker will also participate in the research but will not travel to Kazakhstan.
Baldwin first met Baizhanov 15 years ago at an international conference. During a subsequent meeting three years ago at the Third Franco-Kazakh Model Theory Conference in Marseilles, France, the two laid the groundwork for their present exchange.
"Mathematics gets done by people talking to each other," Baldwin said. "It's very hard to do by just reading or exchanging papers. We've looked at each other's papers in the past and read some of them very carefully. Now, we'll be able to sit down and say, 'Here's a new problem. Let's try to work on this. Let's try to see how different techniques that we've developed in past activities will interact and help to solve these current problems."'
As logicians, Baldwin and his colleagues have a particular interest in finite model theory. Model theory is the study of relations between something stated in a formal sentence and the various math-related structures it possibly describes.
The opportunity to work with the visiting mathematicians excites Baldwin. "It is rather surprising that this central Asian republic has one of the larger model-theory groups in the world, equal in size to groups in China or Brazil, for example. The Kazakh model-theory group is known around the world."
Travel expenses for the exchange are funded through a $49,500 grant from the Civilian Research and Development Foundation. The foundation was established by Congress to promote scientific and technical collaboration between the United States and the former republics of the Soviet Union. The grant also includes a salary stipend for the visiting Kazakh mathematicians.
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