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Alumni Spotlight: Carl de Boor

Carl de Boor is extremely humble about his accomplishments over the course of his long career in mathematics. “My contribution is relatively small; I was at the right place at the right time. I saw what needed to be done. Any competent person would have done the same thing.”

All said by the winner of the National Medal in Science in Mathematics (among many other honors) for contributions that are part of algorithms that pretty much run our world. The graphics we see, the curve of lines in the text you are reading, all of that is a function of splines, B-splines in particular, that indicate curves. Computers couldn’t operate without them, and some of the early formulas that Carl developed have become so standard that they aren’t associated with him anymore.

Alumni Spotlight: Gisselle A. Vélez-Ruiz

Gisselle has been hanging around Rackham for a long time. Initially, she came to participate in the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) when she was an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez. Through the program, she was drawn not only to attend graduate school but to do so here at the University of Michigan. “I knew I liked the University and the people, and I got into several schools, but I felt more comfortable here. I knew I’d be supported and be in a place that wasn’t competitive among students. The funding was really good, and having health insurance as a Rackham Merit Fellow was a big plus. I got great support from my graduate program and from Rackham.”