Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics, has been awarded this year's Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship. The award, announced by Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor David Kliger and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Alison Galloway, will enable the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences to offer a graduate course in complex analysis to be taught by Widom during the winter quarter of the 2007-08 academic year.
Widom received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1955 and joined the UCSC faculty in 1968. His early research was in the areas of integral equations and operator theory, although he has also made important contributions in an area of mathematics called random matrix theory. His work with collaborator Craig Tracy of UC Davis led to the discovery of a new class of distribution functions called Tracy-Widom distributions. For their work, Widom and Tracy shared the prestigious George Pólya Prize in 2002 and the 2007 Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics.
Widom was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2006. Since his retirement, he has remained an active member of the UCSC faculty and continues to teach when possible.
The Dickson Professorship is the result of a gift from Edward A. Dickson, who served as a UC Regent from 1913 to 1946, the longest tenure of any Regent. In 1955, Dickson presented the university with an endowment to support special annual professorships to be awarded to retired faculty members. Every year, each campus in the UC system receives a portion of the income from this endowment to fund these professorships.