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Professor Nigel Boston was hired this past year as part of the UW-Madison's strategic hiring initiative. His appointment is 75% time in Mathematics and 25% time in Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE). Nigel did his undergraduate work at Cambridge University (England), and received the PhD from Harvard University in 1987 where his advisor was Barry Mazur. The title of his thesis was ``Deformation theory of Galois representations.'' After the PhD he spent one year at I.H.E.S. in France and two years as a Morrey Assistant Professor at the University of California - Berkeley. He has been at the University of Illinois since 1990. Nigel was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow from 1994 to 1996. Professor Boston's research interests are varied: algebraic number theory, group theory, arithmetic geometry, computer algebra systems, and interdisciplinary mathematics in general. Nigel also has a 0% time appointment in our Computer Sciences Department, which allows him to supervise theses of computer sciences students.

At Illinois, Nigel had 8 Math PhD students plus 4 Research Assistants from ECE. His most recent PhD student has gone to work for McKinsey Management Consultants. While Nigel arrived in Madison only about 6 months ago, he has already taken on one PhD student in Math and one in ECE. In the fall one of Nigel's former students, Doug Kuhlman, now at Motorola Labs, gave a talk on computer security in the department's VIGRE Brown Bag seminar and in the CS computer security seminar.

Nigel's eclectic interests are reflected in his many recent and future activities. He gave an invited talk at the Chicago International Intellectual Property Conference at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago organized by lawyers from US, UK, and Canada. At this meeting he was on a panel with the deputy governor (and homeland security director) of Illinois, the past-president of the American Microbiology society, and Lee Tien of the Electronic Freedom Foundation. The title of his invited talk was ``Is biometrics measuring up?'' and it has been submitted to the Journal of Law, Technology, and Policy, Nigel also gave invited talks at John's Thompson's 70th Birthday Conference, to MIT electrical engineers, to the Amherst Five Colleges Seminar on number theory. In May of this year he is off to Oberwolfach for the profinite groups meeting to be followed by a visit to number theorist Pink and electrical engineer Boelcskei at ETH Zurich.

At Motorola Labs, Nigel organized the first meeting of MISC (Midwest Information Security Consortium) with faculty from both Wisconsin and Illinois. According to Nigel, ``the idea is to be ready once the homeland security bill promising almost $1 billion for computer and network security research centers, filters down to funding agencies like NSF. He was one of 20 algebra, number theory, combinatorics (ANTC) faculty invited to NSF for a weekend-long discussion of how funding could or should best support computation. The group has prepared an approximately 100-page long report on what they see as the future of ANTC and computation.

This semester Nigel is offering a course on the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. This is his 3rd time giving such a course and he is under contract with Springer to produce a book. You can look for his paper ``Strategies for Weakest Link'' in the American Math Monthly in April of this year.

And this is only some of what Nigel Boston has been doing recently. You can understand why we are so enthusiastic about having him in our department.