Dr. Douglas N. Arnold, McKnight Presidential Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota, will visit the Texas A&M University campus today (Tuesday, Jan. 21) to present the inaugural R.E. Ewing Lecture in Computational Science, named for former Texas A&M Vice President for Research, Dean of Science, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and world-renowned scientist Dr. Richard E. Ewing.
The R.E. Ewing Lecture Series in Computational Science was established in 2019 through the Texas A&M Foundation using funds from the Richard E. Ewing-ExxonMobil Chair in Computational Science (currently held by Texas A&M mathematicians Yalchin Efendiev and Jean-Luc Guermond) in combination with contributions from several of Ewing’s friends and colleagues. The series is intended to bring eminent speakers to Texas A&M on an annual basis to provide opportunities for Texas A&M students to learn from leading mathematicians in an area of study Ewing helped pioneer.
Ewing, who passed away Dec. 5, 2007, at the age of 61, came to Texas A&M in 1992 and served as Dean of the College of Science for eight years prior to being named Vice President for Research in 2000. He also was the founding director of the Texas A&M Institute for Scientific Computation. His profound discoveries in the areas of mathematics, engineering and computational sciences in tandem with his visionary leadership of the flagship campus’ broader research enterprise played a central role in Texas A&M’s emergence as an internationally recognized university of the first rank in science and engineering.
Arnold’s lecture, “Wave Localization and Its Landscape,” is set for 4 p.m. in Room 149 of the John R. Blocker Building. In addition to describing localization, which arises in many physical and mathematical systems, Arnold will detail major strides made in recent years based on the introduction of the landscape function and its partner, the effective potential, from the viewpoint of a computational mathematician who sees the landscape theory as a completely unorthodox sort of a numerical method for computing spectra.
A Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (2012), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2011) and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (2009), Arnold describes himself as a research mathematician and educator specializing in computational mathematics with a strong interest in mathematics in interdisciplinary research and in the public understanding of the role of mathematics. His research centers primarily on numerical analysis, partial differential equations and mechanics — in particular, the interplay between these fields. Much of his work concerns the computer solution of partial differential equations, focusing on the development and understanding of methods for simulating physical phenomena ranging from the deformation of elastic plates and shells to the collision of black holes. Around 2002 he initiated the finite element exterior calculus, a new approach to the stability of finite element methods based on geometric and topological structure underlying the relevant partial differential equations. The development and applications of the finite element exterior calculus remains a major direction of his current research work.
After receiving his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1979, Arnold joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, where he remained for 10 years until relocating to Penn State University in 1989 as Distinguished Professor of Mathematics. In 2001, he accepted an appointment at the University of Minnesota as director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, an interdisciplinary mathematical research institute that grew to be the largest mathematics research investment in the history of the National Science Foundation during his seven-year tenure at the helm. He also was president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the world’s leading professional organization for applied mathematicians and computational scientists, in 2009 and 2010.
An in-demand speaker, Arnold has delivered plenary lectures at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2002 and the Joint Mathematics Meetings in 2009, as well as an NSF-CBMS Lecture Series in 2012. His many career honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), membership in the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2009), the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession (2013) and the J. Tinsley Oden Medal of the U.S. Association for Computational Mechanics (2015). Arnold serves or has served on a variety of advisory and scientific boards, including the Board of Mathematical Sciences and Applications of the National Research Council, the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, the Program Committees for both the International Congress of Mathematicians and the International Congress of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the scientific boards of research institutes around the world, including DIMACS, the Centre of Mathematics for Applications in Oslo, the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh, the IMS in Singapore, ICERM at Brown University, and the Fine Institute for Theoretical Physics at Minnesota.
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