Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass mathematician receives two international prizes

By Katrina Borofski

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Courtesy of the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

Courtesy of the UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences

University of Massachusetts professor Panayotis Kevrekidis recently received two international awards for his contributions to mathematics, specifically in his work involving nonlinear waves.

The first award Kevrekidis received was the J.D. Crawford Prize of the Activity Group on Dynamical Systems of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).

According to Kevrekidis, “The citation for this award reads, ‘for his contributions to our understanding of localized solutions of nonlinear wave equations and for developing these for a variety of applications in nonlinear optics and condensed matter physics including Bose-Einstein condensates and granular crystals.’”

Kevrekidis also received the Aristides F. Pallas Award of the Academy of Athens, Greece.  This prize is presented by researchers from Greece, and is awarded to the author of one paper in the areas of mathematical analysis who is presently in Greece or abroad, according to Kevrekidis.

Kevrekidis is originally from Greece and came to Massachusetts for “the status of the University and the culture and quality of life of the area.”

“It’s a really exciting and fun experience,” noted Kevrekidis. “This is my 12th year here and both I and my family have been delighted to have the opportunity to live and work in the Pioneer Valley for this period of time.”

“It’s a wonderful place to live and work at and I hope to continue doing that for a while here.”

The paper in which Panayotis Kevrekidis received this award for is titled, “Nonlinear Waves in Lattices: Past, Present Future,” and was published in the IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics.

In addition to receiving international recognition, Kevrekidis is currently a graduate professor at the University.

“My role as a faculty member entails all aspects of teaching, research and service,” said Kevrekidis.

“This semester, I am teaching a graduate Master of Science in Applied Mathematics project course, which is a year-long course whereby nine Master of Science students in Applied Mathematics are concentrating on a series of research-level projects and present their efforts through a written report and an oral public presentation,” Kevrekidis said.

While Kevrekidis has done a remarkable job as a faculty member, his work extends far beyond the classroom.

“Additionally, I am conducting research both with researchers at UMass and at nearby institutions, as well as many colleagues nationally and internationally,” Kevrekidis said.

The research Kevrekidis is currently completing revolves primarily around the theme of nonlinear waves and their applications in physics and elsewhere, said Kevrekidis.

Panayotis Kevrekidis is also one of the two co-chairs for a major dynamical systems conference that will take place in Snowbird, UT in May, 2015.

Despite having worked at the University for over a decade, Kevrekidis has completed research at various other locations in the past.

“I have spent a number of extended stays at the Universities of Heidelberg and Hamburg in Germany,” said Kevrekidis, who did so while completing research as part of a Humboldt research fellowship from Germany.

Kevrekidis has also done research at the University of Minnesota as well as numerous other countries and universities.

Pleased with his time abroad, Kevrekidis noted, “These opportunities have been extremely precious as they have diversified my research and opened up new directions not only for me but also directly or indirectly for many of my students and post-doctoral fellows here at UMass.”

While Kevredikis received his awards primarily for work in the field of nonlinear waves, his research has extended to other realms within the mathematic world.

“I am quite broadly interested in all sorts of different levels and aspects of mathematical modeling and its applications to chemical, biological and physical systems,” said Kevredikis.

For example, Kevredikis has worked on catalytical oxidation of surfaces within chemistry, on angiogenic response of cells to tumors within biology and on many different areas in physics.  “My training is generally at the interface of Mathematics and Physics,” he said.

Panayotis Kevrekidis will continue researching these themes and others at the University while collaborating with colleagues from Amherst College, Western New England University and the University of Hartford.

Katrina Borofski can be reached at [email protected]

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