African Americans in Mathematics Reviewed by James A. Donaldson |

Near the beginning of this decade William Massey of Bell Laboratories
(then AT&T, now Lucent Technologies) had an idea for an organization
devoted mainly to

addressing critical issues involving African-American researchers
and graduate students in the mathematical sciences. It was envisioned
that this organization would

highlight current research by African-American researchers
and graduate students in mathematics,

strengthen the mathematical sciences by encouraging increased
participation of African-Americans and members of other underrepresented
groups,

facilitate working relations among them, and provide assistance
to them in cultivating their careers.

This organization became known as the Conference for African-American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences (CAARMS).

It was Massey's industry, determination and energy, coupled
with that of Raymond Johnson, James Turner and others, that led
to the first meeting of the organization

(CAARMS1) which was held at the Mathematical Sciences Research
Institute in Berkeley, California, June 1995. CAARMS2 was held
at DIMACS at Rutgers University

in Piscataway, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton,
and the Bell Laboratories and the AT&T Laboratories in Murray
Hill, New Jersey, June 26-28, 1996;

CAARMS3 was held at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland,
and the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland, June
1997; and the CAARMS4 will

be held at Rice University in Houston, Texas, June 1998.

The book under review here contains some of the invited papers
and poster presentations given at CAARMS2, and other papers pertaining
to objectives and purposes of

CAARMS. It is divided into three sections: (I) Invited Research
Talks, (II) Poster Presentations and (III) Historical Articles.
The first section of this book contains eight of

the invited research talks:

1.Chain decomposition theorems for ordered sets and other
musings by Jonathan David Farley of MSRI and Vanderbilt University.

2.Unimodality and the independent set numbers of matroids
by Carolyn R. Mahoney.

3.On achieving channels in a bipolar game by Curtis Clark
of Morehouse College.

4.Discrete approximation of invariant measures for multidimensional
maps by Walter M. Miller of Howard University.

5.Some numerical methods for a maximum entropy problem by
Nathaniel Whittaker of the University of Massachusetts.

6.Hydrodynamic stability, differential operators and spectral
theory by Isom Herron of Rennselear Polytechnic Institute.

7.The role of Selberg's trace formula in the computation of
Casmir energy for certain Clifford-Klein space-times by Floyd
L. Williams of the University of

Massachusetts.

8.Some dynamics on the irrationals by Scott W. Williams of
the State University of New York, Buffalo.

Invited speakers were encouraged to include sufficient background
material to enable the non-specialist to gain an understanding
of the interest and importance of the

research question under investigation. For the most part, the
authors of the papers in this section accomplished this task admirably
before discussing their own results. It is

anticipated that these papers will be reviewed individually elsewhere.

In the second section are contained seven papers by students that were included in the Poster Presentation session of CAARMS2:

1.Finding elliptic curves defined over Q of high rank by
Garikai Campbell.

2.Symplectic matrix structure in numerical integration by
Michael Keeve of Georgia Institute of Technology.

3.A numerical algorithm for the computation of invariant circles
by Kossi Edoh of Simon Fraser University.

4.Classification of nilpotent orbits in symmetric spaces by
Alfred G. Noel of Northeastern University.

5.Evaluating texture measures for low-level features in color
images of human skin by Kori E. Needham of the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill.

6.Lattice paths and RNA secondary structures by Asamoah Nkwanta
of Howard University.

7.Nuprl as a concurrent interactive theorem prover by Roderick
Moten of Cornell University.

The material in the third section, of interest to a more general audience, contains

1.Yesterday, today and tomorrow by Lee Lorch of York University,

2.The Challenge of Diversity by Etta Z. Falconer of Spelman
College,

3.What next? A meta-history of black mathematicians by Patricia
Clark Kenschaft of Montclair State University,

4.A personal history of the origins of the National Association
of Mathematicians' ``Presentations by Recipients of Recent Ph.
D.'s'' by Donald M. Hill of Florida

A & M University, and

5.Dr. J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.: The Man and his works by Nkechi
Agwu of Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University
of New York and

Asamoah Nkwanta of Howard University.

The papers by Lorch, Hill, and Agwu and Nkwanta illuminate
some aspects of the history of participation in mathematics by
African-Americans. Kenschaft's paper

provides sources of published information about black mathematicians
prior to 1986 and suggests other areas where historical work might
be important. Finally,

Falconer's paper treats the broader subject of participation of
African-American, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in mathematics.
Very useful data are given and

analyzed in this paper, and a list of changes are proposed for
mathematics departments to enable them to them to increase the
production of mathematicians from these

groups.

There are a few (proof-reading) errors which the reviewer found:
the last sentence on page 20 is incomplete, the last two lines
on page 30 are repeated as the first two lines

of page 31, ``Joseph Alphonso'' should be replaced by ``Joseph
Alphonso Pierce'' in the thirteenth line from the bottom of page
184, ``Ruben'' should be replaced by

``Reuben'' and ``Certain'' should be replaced by ``Certaine''
on page 186.

Overall, the editor has succeeded in organizing the content of the volume to reflect faithfully the objectives of CAARMS. There is something for nearly everyone, especially those persons interested in making mathematics participation more inclusive. I am pleased to recommend this book to you for your consideration.

Publication Data: **African Americans in Mathematics**, Edited by Nathaniel Dean. DIMACS Series in Discrete
Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, Volume **34**,
AMS, 1997. 205 pages, ISBN 0-8218-0678-5

James
A. Donaldson ( jad@scs.howard.edu)
is a professor at Howard University, Washington, DC. His main
professional interests are analysis and differential equations.
He is also interested in increasing the number of mathematicians
from groups traditionally underrepresented in mathematics, and
in the history of mathematics.