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KNOXVILLE — This week’s Pre-Game Faculty Showcase at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will feature a presentation by Suzanne Lenhart, professor of mathematics, on a concept fans of the television show “NUMB3RS” might recognize.

Lenhart will present “Optimal Control for Optimal Health: The Numbers Game of Health and Disease,” the sixth program in the Showcase series, at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, in the University Center Ballroom before the Volunteers’ game against Arkansas.

The UT Pre-Game Faculty Showcase, now in its 18th year, is held two hours before every home football game. The College of Arts and Sciences selects a top faculty member for each presentation.

The programs are free and open to the public. Each program lasts 45 minutes and includes a question-and-answer session. Light refreshments are served, and door prizes including footballs and basketballs signed by UT coaches are awarded.

Lenhart will show how math can help combat diseases and improve health. For instance, equations can be used to map blood circulation or illustrate epidemics. Her research involves applications of partial differential equations, modeling and optimal control of a variety of systems.

Lenhart earned her doctorate at the University of Kentucky and joined the UT faculty in 1981. In 1987, she joined the Mathematical Sciences Section at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a part-time researcher.

Her theories of optimization have been published in more than 100 refereed journal articles, and she has presented the research across the U.S. and Europe. Lenhart’s first book, “Optimal Control of Biological Models,” was published this year.

She was presented the College of Arts and Sciences Senior Research Award last year and was named teacher of the year by math graduate students in 2005 and 2006.


Elizabeth Davis, UT media relations, (865) 974-5179,