Andrew J. Majda to receive 2016 AMS Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research

November 12, 2015

Andrew J. Majda will receive the AMS Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research. He is honored for two pioneering and seminal papers that appeared in 1983 in the area of partial differential equations.

One of the world's leading mathematicians, Andrew Majda has made ground-breaking, fundamental contributions to modern applied mathematics by merging asymptotic methods, numerical methods, physical reasoning, and rigorous mathematical analysis. His theoretical work in the study of partial differential equations has been deep and influential. Moreover, he has applied his theoretical insights to a diverse range of practical problems in scattering theory, shock waves, combustion, incompressible flow, vortex motion, turbulent diffusion, and atmosphere ocean science. As a result, Majda's work has had a significant impact in several areas of science and engineering.

The Steele Prize honors two of Majda's papers: "The existence of multidimensional shock fronts" and "The stability of multidimensional shock fronts," both of which appeared in the Memoirs of the AMS in 1983. The results in those papers also appear in his book Compressible Fluid Flows and Systems of Conservation Laws in Several Space Variables, published in 1984 by Springer-Verlag.

This work concerns multidimensional systems of conservation laws, which are fundamental in fluid mechanics. Because the partial differential equations that arise here develop singularities and shocks, the equations are especially difficult to analyze. Majda's papers were written at a time when research in this area was extremely active but focused mainly on the one-dimensional case or on solutions with special symmetries. Majda's papers "pioneered the expansion to the multidimensional case by providing the first rigorous treatment of the existence and stability of multidimensional shock fronts," the citation says. Majda's "tour de force" analysis "revealed a number of new instability phenomena that are not present in the one-space-dimensional case. This work ... immediately became classic". To date, it remains the only available complete and general result about multi-dimensional systems.

Majda's work has been honored with several other prizes, including the John von Neumann Prize of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) (1990), the National Academy of Sciences Prize in Applied Mathematics (1992), the AMS-SIAM Wiener Prize (2013), and the Lagrange Prize of the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (2015). He was named a Fellow of the AMS in 2013.

Majda is the Samuel F. B. Morse Professor of Arts and Sciences at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University. Over the past several years at the Courant Institute, Majda has created the Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science to promote cross-disciplinary research that uses modern applied mathematics in climate modeling and prediction.

Presented annually, the AMS Steele Prize is one of the highest distinctions in mathematics. The prize will be awarded on Thursday, January 7, 2016, at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle.
Find out more about AMS prizes and awards at

Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, today the American Mathematical Society fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.

American Mathematical Society

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