Fall 2010 convocation – MBET, Engineering, Environment, Mathematics, and Science
Ron Graham is one of the world's leading discrete mathematicians. He has made important contributions to number theory, graph theory, combinatorial optimization and extremal combinatorics, among other areas. In several instances, his contributions have initiated or revolutionized a research area. His early work in Ramsey theory led to the revitalization of that subject. His 1966 paper analyzing simple algorithms for processor scheduling is recognized as the first work in the now-active field of approximation algorithms and his discovery of an efficient algorithm for finding the convex hull of a set of points in the plane launched the field of computational geometry.
Professor Graham's work is characterized by extreme elegance. It has been said that, in the hands of Ron Graham, even the most boring-looking problem turns into something interesting.
Widely respected as a mentor to young mathematicians, Professor Graham is one of the world's leading mathematical expositors, both as an author and as a speaker. He is strongly motivated by applications, and has been a great promoter of mathematics to engineers and managers.
His many service contributions include terms as president of both the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, and as treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Graham received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. He spent 37 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories as a researcher and administrator, serving eventually as chief scientist. Since 1999, he has held the Jacobs Endowed Chair in Computer and Information Science at the University of California, San Diego. He has received many honours, including the prestigious Polya Prize in Combinatorics.