Years of service at Georgia Tech:
What were your scholarly and teaching interests and some of your related accomplishments?
My research and teaching interests were mainly in mathematical probability, with much emphasis on international collaborations.
My international research accomplishments include: NATO/NSF Postdoc to Leiden University (Holland), Gauss Professor at Goettingen Academy of Sciences (Germany), Binational Science Researcher at Tel Aviv University (Israel), Fulbright Professor to University Goettingen (Germany), Elected Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, Fulbright Professor Host at Tech to two Dutch Ph.D. students.
My research has been cited in The New York Times, and I have been interviewed on Dan Rather’s CBS National News. Other noteworthy examples can be found online: http://people.math.gatech.edu/~hill/About2013.php.
Regarding teaching, I was awarded the School of Math Best Professor award in 1992 (from among approximately 50 professors). Internationally, I have lectured in: English, German, Spanish, and Dutch.
How have those interests expanded since your retirement?
I have continued collaborations and publications at Georgia Tech, with Regents Professors Ron Fox in Physics and Leonid Bunimovich in Math, for example, and, internationally, at the University of Amsterdam (with three Ph.D. students) and at the Mexican Mathematical Research Center. Since retirement, I have given about 60 invited talks, and published about 40 papers.
I won an NSA research grant after retirement and am writing two math books (one now under contract with Princeton U Press). I also set up the definitive database on Benford’s Law. (See http://www.benfordonline.net/.)
I have published four papers, all on different topics, in American Scientist.
How significant has your added discretionary time been to pursuing avocational and leisurely goals?
It has been EXTREMELY significant. Every day of the week, I get up and am free to sketch out new research ideas, referee papers, fine-tune papers-in-progress, plan invited lecture trips, mentor young faculty and students, go hiking, diving, or mountain biking – you name it.
Also, as far as I know, I am the only Vietnam veteran who Vietnamese universities invited to return to lecture on his own scientific (mathematical) discoveries. I went twice – before and after retirement – and, following my visits, organized a small project (http://www.losososresearch.org/booksforvietnam/) to try to send them much-needed math books. The program is not very active now because of high shipping costs.
How have you maintained a sense of active affiliation and community with Georgia Tech?
I have joint publications, visit frequently, host Tech visitors often here in California, and am on the phone very often.
What advice would you give to faculty members for whom retirement is on the horizon?
This will be the time of your life – no committee meetings, disgruntled colleagues or students, or dean’s reports to fill out. You will be as free as the wind, with every opportunity to travel, study, mentor, and interact with new people near and far. Look at it as a permanent sabbatical.