Gerard Ben Arous and Lai-Sang Young elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Yann LeCun, receives the ACM A.M. Turing Award!
See the NYU press release for more information. Congratulations, Yann!
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Donation
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has made a donation to Courant of a computer system and access to cloud based computing, with up to 2 petaflops of computing power, for use in COVID-related research.
For more detail, see this letter from Courant Director, Russel Caflisch.
July 23, 2020
It’s my great pleasure to announce a truly impressive gift-in-kind to the Courant Institute that will have a profound impact on COVID-19-related research both at Courant and throughout NYU. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), one of the country’s leading manufacturers of computer processors, is donating a high-performance computer system and remote access to a second, cloudbased system, with both systems consisting of AMD CPUs and GPUs. The first system will be located at NYU’s new High Performance Computing Center and the cloud-based system will be located at Penguin Computing. Together, the computer systems will provide our researchers with up to two petaflops of computing power. We will be putting these resources to use in projects from a wide range of disciplines to address numerous aspects of the COVID-19 crisis and related applications. These include research aimed at developing drugs that can be used to treat both COVID-19 and future SARS virus mutations; retrieval of relevant research findings from the vast biomedical literature; analysis of medical imaging for screening of patients; and studying political attitudes and voting behavior in response to financial hardships stemming from the pandemic. COVID-19 has had a profound impact on higher education research, both in terms of its direction and the need for immediate results, so the timing of this donation is particularly fortuitous. We are tremendously grateful to AMD for their extraordinary gift.
Jeff Cheeger to receive an honorary degree from the University of Chicago
Jeff is one of six distinguished scholars who will receive the honorary degree in 2021. Further information can be found here.
Daniele Panozzo has been awarded a Sloan Fellowship for his work in solving partial differential equations on complex geometrical domains. Congratulations!
NYU Courant Mourns the Loss of Professor Louis Nirenberg
Louis Nirenberg died in New York City on January 26, 2020 at the age of 94.
He was a leading mathematician, whose fundamental contributions in the field of partial differential equations were hugely influential. This area of mathematics provides the language we use to describe—and the techniques we use to analyze—diverse problems from many fields, including geometry, physics, and engineering. Louis' earliest work, in the 1950's, solved two longstanding problems from geometry by proving new estimates for fully-nonlinear elliptic equations. Over the course of his long and productive career his achievements included the solution of many other important problems, and—equally significant—the introduction of many new ideas and techniques.
Louis was born in 1925 in Hamilton, Ontario, but grew up in Montreal. He studied Mathematics and Physics at McGill University, graduating in 1945, then came to New York University as a Mathematics masters student. The postwar years were a remarkable time for mathematics at NYU—his fellow students included Eugene Isaacson, Peter Lax, Joseph Keller, Martin Kruskal, Cathleen Morawetz, Harold Grad, and Avron Douglis. Louis remained at NYU for his entire career: after completing his PhD in 1949 with guidance from James Stoker and Kurt Friedrichs, he held a two-year postdoctoral position then joined the faculty in 1951. His title was Professor of Mathematics from 1957 until 1999, when he retired and became Professor Emeritus. He was Director of the Courant Institute from 1970 to 1972.
Louis' impact was partly due to his exquisite taste in problems. One very successful mode was to recognize, through specific challenges, the need for new tools or estimates. His ability to identify such challenges—and to find the required tools or estimates—was a major driver of his impact. His early work on problems from geometry had this character; other examples include his papers in the 60's with Joseph Kohn on problems from complex differential geometry, and those in the 80's with Haim Brezis on nonlinear elliptic equations with critical exponents.
A different, equally successful mode was to identify tools that were clearly important, then systematically explore their power. His work on the regularity of solutions of linear elliptic equations and systems had this character; it was done in the 50's and 60's with Shmuel Agmon and Avron Douglis. Another example is his work on the symmetry of solutions of nonlinear partial differential equations using the “method of moving planes” and the “sliding method,” developed in the 80's and 90's with Basilis Gidas, Wei-Ming Ni, and Henry Berestycki.
Louis also loved challenges—particularly ones involving estimates or inequalities—and this was the motivation for many projects. One example is his work on solutions of the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations, which describe for example the flow of water. We still don't know whether its solutions are smooth or not, so it is natural to ask about the size of the set where they are not smooth. The estimates Louis proved in the 80's with Luis Caffarelli and Robert Kohn remain the state of the art.
A gifted teacher and mentor, Louis was advisor to 46 PhD students (starting with Walter Littman in 1956 and ending with Kanishka Perera in 1997), and he also had a formative influence on many postdocs and collaborators.
Lively and gregarious, Louis loved music, art, and film almost as much as he loved mathematics. He maintained close friendships with many colleagues around the world. He loved to travel, and to host visitors. He particularly enjoyed working with others; as a result, almost all his papers were coauthored.
Louis received many prestigious awards, including the Abel Prize (2015), the American Mathematical Society's Leroy P. Steele Prizes for Seminal Contribution to Research (2014) and Lifetime Achievement (1994), the International Mathematical Union's Chern Medal (2010), the National Medal of Science (1995), the Canadian Mathematical Society's Jeffery-Williams Prize (1987), the Crafoord Prize (1982), and the American Mathematical Society's Bôcher Prize (1959).
He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1965, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1969, and a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2013. He was also a member of numerous honorary societies in other countries, including Accademia dei Lincei (1978), Accademia Mediterranea della Scienza (1982), Académie des Sciences (1989), Istituto Lombardo Accademia Scienze e Lettere (1991), Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1994), and Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters (2015). He received honorary degrees from McGill University (1986), University of Pisa (1990), Université de Paris IX Paris-Dauphine (1990), McMaster University (2000), University of British Columbia (2010); and he was named Honorary Professor by Nankai University (1987), Zhejiang University (1988), and Peking University (2016).
Louis is survived by his son Marc, his daughter Lisa and her partner, Joseph Ganci, his grandchildren Jimmy and Alma, his sister Deborah, and his partner Nanette.
Additional information about Louis, including video, is available at the Simons Foundation's "Science Lives" website, via this link: https://www.simonsfoundation.org/2014/04/21/louis-nirenberg/
An autobiography is included in a recent book The Abel Prize 2013-2017 (H. Holden and R. Piene eds, Springer-Verlag, 2019, pp 379-389).
Legion of Honor
Margaret Wright receives John von Neumann Prize
Silver Professor Margaret Wright is the recipient of the John von Neumann Prize.
The John von Neumann Prize is the highest honor and flagship lecture of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Margaret is recognized for her pioneering contributions to the numerical solution of optimization problems and to the exposition of the subject. Margaret will deliver the John von Neumann Prize Lecture "A Hungarian Feast of Applied Mathematics" at this year's ICIAM in Valencia, Spain on July 16.
For further information, please see the press release from SIAM.
Denis Zorin receives ACM Computer Graphics Achievement Award
Denis Zorin has received the 2019 Computer Graphics Achievement Award "in recognition of his fundamental contributions to computer graphics and geometric modeling."