The Evans Lectures

The Evans Lectures are named for Evan William Evans, the first professor appointed at Cornell, a mathematician and college friend of A. D. White. The lectures are intended for an audience of mathematics faculty and graduate students, to bring them together to share in the excitement of mathematical research. The Evans Lectures are made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Upcoming Lectures

The timing of the next series of lectures has not yet been determined. Information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Previous Lectures in the Series

About Evans

portrait of Evan William Evans

Evan William Evans was born in 1827 in Wales. His family emigrated to America soon after his birth. In 1851 he graduated from Yale University, where he made the acquaintance of Andrew Dickson White. After graduating from Yale he served as Instructor in Mathematics at Yale. He later became Professor at Marietta College in Ohio. In February 1867, White recruited Evans to head Cornell's Department of Mathematics and Engineering. He was among the first group of faculty at Cornell. He held the post until a few months before his death in 1874.

James Oliver (of Oliver Club fame and himself a student of Benjamin Pierce at Harvard) described Evans as

“a man of few words but of remarkably sound and independent judgement that carried great weight in the faculty councils, and as an acute and thorough student, a philosophical and original thinker, a firm and loyal friend… Characteristic of his instruction or policy were: the remarkable power of concentration with which he would follow others’ work without using his eyes, his uniform preference for oral above written examinations, and his habit of taking a calculus class over the same ground with two successive authors for the sake of the cross-light”

Evans was also a scholar of Cymric literature and philology and has been described in this area as “having no superior in the United States.” He wrote treatises on “the oil and mineral region of southeastern Ohio” and “Primary elements of plane and solid geometry” and an article titled “On the path and velocity of the Guernsey county meteor of May 1st.”

Remarkably enough, the name of Evan William Evans is present to this day somewhere in Malott Hall (with a slightly different spelling)!