Eric Vanden-Eijnden, a professor at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been named the winner of the 2011 J.D. Crawford Prize, in recognition of recent outstanding work on a topic in nonlinear science, by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). The prize, which is given every two years, will be awarded in May.
Vanden-Eijnden’s focus is the development of mathematical tools and numerical methods for the analysis of complex dynamical systems, which range from living organisms to the weather.
These systems are subject to small, random fluctuations, which researchers refer to as “noise.” This noise, which is intrinsically irregular, can lead to a dynamical behavior that has a predictable and periodic pattern. For example, the noisy input neurons receive from other neurons can lead to periodic switches in neuronal activity crucial to specific functions in our brain. Similarly, there are some chemical systems in which a small amount of thermal noise can create periodic patterns of activities.
While these phenomena arise in a wide variety of contexts, they can be explained within a unified mathematical framework. This framework is the centerpiece of Vanden-Eijnden’s contributions, which include developing theories to account for these changes and algorithms to quantify the impact of such random processes.
Vanden-Eijnden has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, which are the most prestigious NSF awards for junior faculty, as well as SIAM’s Germund Dahlquist Prize, which recognizes contributions to the solution of differential equations and numerical methods for scientific computing, among other honors.
Vanden-Eijnden received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in theoretical physics from Belgium’s Université Libre de Bruxelles.
The Crawford Prize, established in 2000, is awarded biennially to one individual for recent outstanding work on a topic in dynamical systems and nonlinear science. This prize honors the memory of John David Crawford (1954-1998), who made fundamental contributions on collisionless plasmas and pattern formation.
About NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences is a leading center for research and education. Established under the leadership of Richard Courant in 1935, the Courant Institute has contributed to U.S. and international science and engineering by promoting an integrated view of mathematics and computer science. The Institute is engaged in broad research activities, applying these disciplines to problems in biology, chemistry, physics, economics, and atmosphere-ocean science. The Courant Institute has played a central role in the development of applied mathematics, analysis, and computer science, and is comprised of a faculty which has received numerous national and international awards in recognition of its extraordinary research accomplishments. For more information please visit www.cims.nyu.edu.