Alfonso Castro, McAlister Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, celebrated his 70th birthday just as any world-renowned mathematician might: with a global online conference organized by the mathematics community and held in his honor.
On Oct. 23, the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in collaboration with the Colombian Mathematical Society and the Colombian Academy of Science, hosted an Online Conference in Honor of Castro to celebrate his birthday, gather mathematical friends and colleagues from around the world and honor his many contributions to mathematics and the profession. Participants included many of Castro’s collaborators, PhD students, friends and family. There were lectures and presentations from all over the world, including Colombia, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, the UK and the U.S.
“What a wonderful testament to Alfonso’s significant contributions to mathematics and his tenacious efforts to support and inspire mathematicians across the globe in the joy and wonder of differential equations and nonlinear functional analysis,” said Jon Jacobsen, chair of the HMC Department of Mathematics and Kenneth and Diana Jonsson Professor of Mathematics.
Castro joined the Harvey Mudd faculty in 2003 and chaired the Department of Mathematics from 2004 to 2008. During his tenure as chair, the department was distinguished with the inaugural American Mathematical Society award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement in a Mathematics Department. Castro specializes in applied mathematics, differential equations and nonlinear functional analysis. His research areas include partial differential equations (including semilinear equations with discrete spectrum), variational methods, inverse-function theorems and water waves (solitons).
Castro’s career is marked by numerous distinctions. He is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society, has served as a principal speaker at professional meetings in many countries and received several National Science Foundation grants as well as a 2012 Simons Foundation Collaboration grant. Castro is a prominent member of the Colombian Academy of Sciences and was awarded the 2013 Colombian National Mathematics prize (the first such award offered to someone living outside of Colombia) in recognition of his service to the Colombian mathematical research community. Castro is the co-founder and managing editor of the Electronic Journal of Differential Equations, a pioneering journal in paperless publication that publishes in excess of 150 research papers per year, accessible free of charge via the Internet.