Sixth Annual IIT Karl Menger Lecture and Award

Philip Holmes, Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Karl Menger taught mathematics at IIT from 1946-1971. Considered one of the great mathematicians of the 20th century, he also inspired countless students.

Alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the IIT Department of Applied Mathematics are invited to the sixth annual IIT Karl Menger Lecture and Award on Monday, April 23. Events will include the lecture “One and a Quarter Centuries of Nonlinear Dynamics: More Is Different and Less Is More,” by Philip Holmes of Princeton University, presentation of the Karl Menger Award for exceptional scholarship by a student, memories of IIT and Menger, and more and will take place from 12:45 – 4:15 pm in the MTCC Ballroom.

Holmes is Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, professor of applied computational mathematics and a member of Princeton’s Neuroscience Institute. He currently works on the neuromechanics of animal locomotion, and on the neurodynamics of decision making. He has co-authored over 200 hundred scientific papers, three books on dynamical systems, and with Florin Diacu the book Celestial Encounter – an historical account of the origins of chaos theory.

Holmes will tell the story of Henri Poincare’s paper on Hamiltonian dynamics and the three-body problem of celestial mechanics. In 1889, Poincare was awarded a prize established to honor the 60th birthday of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway, for his paper on Hamiltonian dynamics and the three-body problem of celestial mechanics. As the paper was being edited for publication in Acta Mathematica, a serious error came to light. In correcting the error, Poincare discovered the phenomenon that we now call deterministic chaos. The resulting 270-page paper is essentially the first textbook in the modern geometrical theory of dynamical systems. Holmes will discuss some of the key contributions to which it led (Smale’s horseshoe, Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser theory, center manifolds and bifurcations) and end by describing some applications of dynamical systems theory in fluid, solid and celestial mechanics.

Visit the IIT Karl Menger Lecture and Award page for a complete schedule of events.

Contact Gladys Collins at 312.567.8980 or with any questions.

RSVP to Lauren Shelby at or 312.567.5030.