Robert Corless

Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario
1:00pm Thursday May 20th, in AQ 3181

The Lambert W Function in Science

Talk (Maple Worksheet)


The Lambert W function has had its name for just over ten years now. But, it has been studied since the time of Euler (1759), and has been used in a remarkable variety of applications. While it was nameless, people had a strong tendency to reinvent results. Since its naming, that tendency has been greatly reduced---though not eliminated. Easy access to facts about this function, via computer algebra systems and the web, have increased the number of applications significantly in the last ten years.

In this talk we survey some of the applications of this function, give a little bit of its history, and lightly examine some of its mathematical properties. There is a substantial body of material to choose from for this talk, and we will not even try to do it all; instead what is offered is a series of vignettes of essentially 19th century mathematics doing its job in the 21st.