USNA Midshipman-Faculty Colloquium

Chauvenet 216 at 7 pm



Dr. Carl Pomerance

Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs



Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Paul Erdos and me


Abstract: For many decades the premiere baseball statistic was Babe Ruth's lifetime homerun record of 714. In 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit his 715-th career homerun, finally eclipsing Ruth. This event led to a whimsical paper by me and two colleagues on interesting properties of the numbers 714 and 715, published in the Journal of Recreational Mathematics. Not exactly rocket science. But, as it turned out, the paper had a famous reader, the great mathematician Paul Erdos. This began a mathematical odyssey that resulted in a long collaboration with Erdos, changing my mathematical life forever. In fact, some of the things that I learned from Erdos were later put to use benchmarking the security of public-key cryptography. And it all started from a baseball game.


Time: 7-8pm, Thursday April 25, 2002


Biography: Carl Pomerance is one of the world's top number theorists. He received his PhD from Harvard University (under John Tate) in 1972. After graduating, he immediately joined the faculty at the University of Georgia, becoming full professor in 1982. He is now with Bell Labs, at Lucent. He has won many teaching and research awards, including the Chauvenet Prize in 1985, MAA's distinguished university teaching award in 1997, and the AMS's Conant Prize in 2001. He has over 120 publications, and is the author (with R. Crandell) of "Prime numbers: a computational perspective", Springer-Verlag, 2001. He is also the inventor of one of the most important factorization methods - the quadratic sieve.

Reception at 8:00pm on the 2rd floor deck overlooking the fountain.