Barry Charles Mazur. You are among the most influential mathematicians of our time, thanks both to the force of your ideas and to your intellectual generosity. The many prizes you have received from your peers demonstrate your leadership and talent in pure mathematics. Students and former students testify to your generosity with ideas, your gift for the crucial insight and your willingness to pass those insights on without claiming credit. You are Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard, a title that recognizes not only your preeminence in your field but also your facility for crossing disciplinary boundaries. As then Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Jeremy Knowles said when you were named Gade professor, you are "a wonderful teacher who engages biologists, physicists, economists and others and seduces then into an understanding of the beauty and use of mathematics." You are the author of more than one hundred articles on topology, algebraic geometry, number theory, and the history of mathematics. Many of those articles are classics, read and re-read by other scholars, the impetus for countless further studies. For the rest of us, you have written Imagining Numbers, a reflection on the imagination and the role it plays in both poetry and mathematics that takes us from "the yellow of the tulip" to "the square root of minus 15." The book has allowed poets to learn more about mathematics and spurred mathematicians to read more poetry. Inspired and inspiring teacher, creative mathematician, lover of literature, leader of fascinating conversations, possessor of a deep, broad and humane intellect, you have lived the ideal that Colby tries to impart to every student. Yours has truly been a life infused by the liberal arts.
By the authority of the Board of Trustees of Colby College, I confer upon you, Barry Charles Mazur, the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa. The hood with which you have been invested and this diploma which I place in your hand are visible symbols of your membership in this society of scholars, to all the rights and privileges of which I declare you entitled.
Conferred May 23, 2004