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Joseph Keller honored by the New Jersey Institute of Technology

STANFORD -- The New Jersey Institute of Technology, a public research university, recently honored Joseph B. Keller, professor emeritus of mathematics and mechanical engineering, with the degree of Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa.

Keller was cited for his singular influence on the development of applied mathematics and related areas of science and engineering.

As developer of the geometrical theory of diffraction, which describes the propagation of waves, Keller has had a profound effect on the fields of acoustics, elasticity, statistical physics, optics, fluid dynamics, biomathematics and quantum mechanics. His theory is widely used to analyze radar reflection from objects, to calculate elastic wave scattering from flaws in solids and to study acoustic wave propagation in the ocean.

Keller also formulated the widely used "EBK method" for determining energy levels of atoms and molecules set by quantum mechanics. The technique is also used to solve characteristic values problems in other fields.

The mathematician also has studied more mundane problems, such as how a runner should vary his speed in a race, why the probability of heads is one half in a coin toss, what is the best way for a worm to crawl, what objects can be used as fair dice, how bubbles form in beer, and how liquids break into drops.

He is the author of nearly 400 scientific publications.



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