David Blackwell Memorial Conference

was held on

Thursday, April 19 – Friday, April 20, 2012

 at Howard University, Washington, DC


Dr. David Blackwell, a mathematician and statistician, made phenomenal contributions to probability theory, statistics and game theory and was the first black scholar to be admitted to the National Academy of Sciences passed away on July 8, 2010 at the age of 91. Even though he encountered the many difficulties that African Americans experienced in society, and in particular, the mathematical community, he prevailed to become the "greatest African American mathematician". He came to Howard University in 1944 and, in just three years, he was appointed to full professor and head of the Mathematics Department. In 1954 he left Howard to go to University of California, Berkeley where he spent the rest of his career. At Berkeley, he became the first black tenured professor.

This two-day conference brought together leading theoretical and applied mathematicians, statisticians, and other scientists to:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge Dr. Blackwell's myriad contributions to scholarship in multiple areas and disciplines.
  2. Discuss how Dr. Blackwell's work shapes and influences the field-at-large and their respective scholarship.
  3. Explore and develop new ideas and approaches to questions arising from mathematics and statistics.
  4. Provide a forum for a diverse group of undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty to interact and collaborate with experts in the field of mathematics and statistics.

Evidence of Dr. Blackwell's intellectual contributions is visible in many arenas and scholars continue to build on that knowledge base. In so doing, conference participants continuously underscore and reinforce the intellectual merit of Dr. Blackwell's and their own work. The conference is an opportunity for intellectual exchange and discourse among scholars from diverse backgrounds. As new generations of scholars from increasingly diverse backgrounds enter the fields of mathematics and statistics, through the Dr. David Blackwell Memorial Conference, they become members of the community of scholars who innovate and make breakthroughs within their respective fields.

This significant event, organized by the Department of Mathematics at Howard University in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, and the American Statistical Association, celebrate Dr. Blackwell's legacy as well as the advances he made in mathematics and statistics.

Funding for the David Blackwell Memorial Conference has been generously provided through grants from the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office. Additional sponsors can be found here.
 Howard University
 Army Research Office  National Science Foundation