IU Bloomington Department of Mathematics is only program in nation with four new AMS Fellows

Nov. 12, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington’s Department of Mathematics led all other math departments at U.S. higher learning institutions with four faculty members selected this year as Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

Professors Hari Bercovici, Michael J. Larsen, Shouhong Wang and Kevin Zumbrun are being recognized by the society and its more than 30,000 individual members and 570 institutional members around the world for their outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics. They will be honored during a ceremony at the largest mathematics meeting in the world, the Jan. 15 to 18 Joint Mathematics Meetings of the AMS and the Mathematical Association of America in Baltimore.

Fifty mathematical scientists were named Fellows of the AMS for 2014, and only IU Bloomington’s College of Arts and Sciences placed four faculty members on the list. University of California Los Angeles, UC Santa Barbara and Rutgers New Brunswick were the only institutions with three faculty members honored as fellows, and a total of 34 institutions from around the world were represented with at least one fellow.

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said recognition of four new fellows from the Bloomington campus was indicative of a department that has been growing in prestige and standing over recent years. The National Research Council increased the department’s national ranking from 31st in 2000 to 15th in 2010; two Rhodes Scholars have graduated from the undergraduate program in the past three years; and undergraduate enrollment has risen from 138 majors in 2007 to 275 in 2010.

“Mathematics is the foundation of all science, and one that has been fundamental to many of the greatest discoveries in astronomy, physics and computer science, among many other fields,” McRobbie said. “With their inclusion as new Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, these four Indiana University faculty members exemplify not only the individual intellectual strengths required to influence their field, but also the overall depth and breadth of a department now among the best in the nation.”

Hari Bercovici

Bercovici is being recognized for his contributions to operator theory and to free probability. While his work in these areas has been theoretical, operator theory is applied in control theory, and free probability is related with research in telecommunications.

He came to IU in 1985 as an associate professor with a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and following postdoctoral work at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkeley, Calif. Named a full professor in 1988, Bercovici has published over 140 articles in mathematical journals, has received continuous support from the National Science Foundation since 1982, and has been a longtime editor and associate editor of the Indiana University Mathematics Journal.

Michael J. Larsen

Larsen, named an IU Distinguished Professor in 2011, is being recognized for his contributions to the fields of group theory, number theory, topology and algebraic geometry.

Larsen received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1988 and joined the IU faculty later that same year. Recognized for his ability to straddle diverse areas of mathematics and work in an array of subfields, he has published more than 70 papers that have been cited by over 470 different authors, been an editor and associate editor of the Indiana University Mathematics Journal since 2001, and in 2008 founded the Bloomington Math Circle, an after-school program for mathematically gifted elementary school students.

Shouhong Wang

Wang is being recognized for his contribution to the field of geophysical fluid mechanics, the study of large-scale flows as applied to the motion of fluids and gases on Earth and other planets.

He received his Ph.D. from China’s Lanzhou University. He came to IU in 1989 for postdoctoral research and never left, having been named an assistant professor in 1994 and a full professor in 2002. With over 100 publications to his name, Wang was also an invited speaker on the topic of “Climate Modeling and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics” at last year’s Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston.

Kevin Zumbrun

Zumbrun, chair of the department since 2009, is being recognized for his contributions to continuum mechanics, shock and boundary layer theory. The field of continuum mechanics describes the elasticity and plasticity of solids and the dynamics of liquids and gases by applying fundamental laws of physics like conservation of mass, force equilibrium, and momentum and energy, in order to derive differential equations describing the behavior of those solids, liquids and gases.

Zumbrun came to IU in 1992 as an assistant professor with a Ph.D. from New York University’s Courant Institute and was named a full professor in 1999. He has over 150 publications to his credit and has guided 11 students to a Ph.D., including two National Science Foundation CAREER award winners, an NSF postdoc, and this year’s recipient of an IU College of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Year Fellowship. Zumbrun has also served as a longtime associate editor of the Indiana University Mathematics Journal.