As a recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Science, Thomas Kailath of Stanford University was cited not only for “transformative” scientific contributions to the fields of information and systems science, but also for mentoring activities and entrepreneurial ventures that proved influential in industry.

Here is a calculus-free solution of the standard vector calculus problem

Minimize

\[\begin{equation}\tag{1}
f (x, y, z) = ax^2 + by^2 + cz^2
\end{equation}\]
subject to \(g (x, y, z) = x + y + z = 1\), where \(a\), \(b\), and \(c\) are positive constants.

Jan Draisma, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, is chair of the SIAM Activity Group on Algebraic Geometry. To give SIAM News readers an idea of one current research theme in the field, he dropped in on the semester-long (fall 2014) program in algebraic geometry at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing.

BOOK REVIEW: Mathematics without Apologies: Portrait of a Problematic Vocation.By Michael Harris, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2014, 464 pages, $29.95.

At SIAM News we’re always happy (but not particularly surprised) to have outside confirmation of the talents of our writers. A case in point is the awarding of the MAA’s Chauvenet Prize to Dana Mackenzie at the Joint Meetings in San Antonio in January.

These are exciting times, as we witness the growth of applied mathematics and its increasing relevance to so many sectors of the economy and to our daily lives. And yet a note of regret crept in when we learned in recent weeks that we will soon lose a staunch ally in supporting applied and computational math: the IMA at the University of Minnesota.

Winter-worn residents of some parts of the world might want to think ahead six months to the eighth International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics, which will be held in Beijing, August 10–14. Key elements of the program, including the 27 invited speakers (selected by the Scientific Program Committee and approved by the ICIAM Board), the names of the five ICIAM prize recipients, and details about Éva Tardos’s Olga Taussky-Todd Lecture, have been posted at www.iciam2015.cn/.