Distinguished Visitor Programme

Professor Phillip A. Griffiths

Distinguished Visitor

Professor Phillip A. Griffiths is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. He was the Institute’s Director from 1991 to 2003 and previously Provost at Duke University.

He has taught mathematics at Duke, Harvard, Princeton, and UC Berkeley. As Chairman of the Science Initiative Group, Dr. Griffiths provides scientific guidance, oversight and coordination for the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI), a program whose objective is to build capacity in modern science and engineering in developing countries as a vehicle for economic and social progress. Dr. Griffiths was a Distinguished Presidential Fellow for International Affairs at The National Academies. He served on the National Science Board during the period 1991-1996.

Among his numerous awards and recognitions, Dr. Griffiths most recently received the Chern Medal, given once every four years for lifetime achievement by the International Mathematical Union; the Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society and the Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics.


SMS Public Lecture

How Mathematics Fuels the Knowledge Economy

The importance of mathematics in society has exploded in recent years, opening whole new fields of research and with them new careers. The hottest current job market is for people trained in “big data”; that of the future may well be in “artificial intelligence.” Modern medicine is increasingly based on mathematics; here one thinks of sophisticated imaging and image interpretation technique, along with genetic modelling to determine susceptibility to particular diseases. In this talk I will discuss and illustrate some of the ways mathematics is fuelling the knowledge economy.


General public


May 20 (Friday) 2016 / 4.30 pm – 5.30 pm


Nanyang Technological University
SPMS-LT3 (SPMS-03-02) (map)

Registration Fee


SMS Academic Talk

A Tale of Two Mathematicians

This is the story of some of the mathematical work of two mathematicians, Jean Victor Poncelet and Niels Henrik Abel. They were contemporaries in the early 19th century who never met and who were not even aware of each other’s work. However, between them Poncelet and Abel laid the cornerstones of the modern field of geometry, arithmetic, and theoretical physics. In this talk I will try to explain what each of them did, Poncelet in geometry and Able in analysis, and how the fusion of their work revealed one of the deepest aspects of classical and contemporary mathematics. This fusion is captured by an amazing property of playing billiards on a table formed by two concentric ellipses.


Mathematicians and Researchers


May 20 (Friday) 2016 / 11.00 am – 12.00 pm


National University of Singapore
S17 #04-06 SR1 (map)

Registration Fee



Please click on the following links to register your attendance.

Public Lecture
Academic Talk

Deadline for registration: 18 May 2016


Dr Tang Wee Kee