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MEDIA RELEASE
February 28, 2006

THREE HONOURED FOR OUTSTANDING RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS

The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) has selected Nassif Ghoussoub as the recipient of the 2007 Jeffery- Williams Prize, Pauline van den Driessche as the recipient of the 2007 Krieger-Nelson Prize and Jim Geelen as the winner of the 2006 Coxeter-James Prize.


CMS 2007 Jeffery-Williams Prize: Dr. Nassif Ghoussoub (University of British Columbia)

The Jeffery-Williams Prize recognizes mathematicians who have made outstanding contributions to mathematical research. Dr. Nassif Ghoussoub is a leading expert in partial differential equations, variational problems, and geometric and nonlinear functional analysis. He is a prolific researcher of depth and vision who has made a strong impact in each of these areas.

His seminal 1993 monograph "Duality and Perturbation Methods in Critical Point Theory" introduced many ideas and methods from his own then-recent work into the calculus of variations, including the far-reaching min-max principle involving duality and a Morse theory "up to epsilon" to deal with borderline variational problems. The influence of this book in the field, and in particular on the recent advances in Hartree-Fock- Dirac theory by Esteban and Sere and related problems in quantum chemistry by Lewin, can hardly be overestimated.

Among the highlights of his one hundred papers is his resolution with Gui of De Giorgi's Conjecture, a long- standing open problem, first with a complete solution in dimension two, followed by major advances in dimensions up to five. This work is described as a "magnificent breakthrough", involving original ideas with other applications to the study of elliptic partial differential equations.

Dr. Ghoussoub's work with Agueh and Kang on geometric inequalities is described as a "gem". Using new ideas on the border between mathematical physics and partial differential equations, they have developed a unified framework for several important geometric inequalities based on a general comparison principle between different states of interacting gases, and discovered a remarkably encompassing energy-entropy duality formula.

Following his solution with Tzou of a 1976 conjecture of Brezis and Ekeland, in recent years Dr. Ghoussoub has developed an innovative approach to the calculus of variations. His self-dual variational principles exploit algebraic symmetries of newly devised energy functionals to prove existence results for a wide range of partial differential equations not covered by standard Euler-Lagrange theory.

Dr. Ghoussoub received an undergraduate degree from the Lebanese University of Beirut in 1973 and a doctorat d'état from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris in 1979. He joined the University of British Columbia in 1977 and is now a Professor and a Distinguished University Scholar at UBC, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta. He has been a visiting professor at numerous universities in Europe and the United States. He received the CMS Coxeter-James Prize in 1990 and an honorary doctorate from Université Paris-Dauphine in 2004. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1994.

His service to the Canadian mathematical community has been nothing short of extraordinary. He is the founding director of the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences, co-founder of the MITACS network, and a founder and current Scientific Director of the Banff International Research Station. He has been a Vice- President of the CMS and served on the NSERC Grant Selection Committee and various editorial boards, including Editor-in-Chief for the Canadian Journal of Mathematics.

Dr. Nassif Ghoussoub will present the 2007 Jeffery-Williams Prize Lecture at the CMS Summer Meeting hosted by the University of Manitoba in June 2007.


CMS 2007 Krieger-Nelson Prize:   Dr. Pauline van den Driessche (University of Victoria)

The Krieger-Nelson Prize recognizes outstanding research by a female mathematician.

Dr. Pauline van den Driessche is one of Canada's leading applied mathematicians, known for her work in mathematical biology and linear algebra.

Her major impact in mathematical biology has been the application of new mathematical methods to the study of dynamics of epidemics. The referees cite her work on epidemic models with variable population size, the role of immigration on disease dynamics, the possibility of multiple steady states, and reproduction numbers and sub-threshold endemic equilibria for compartmental models of disease transmission. The mathematical tools she has developed have been applied by her and others to multi-city disease dynamics, HIV-AIDS control, and, more recently, West Nile virus outbreak predictions.

Her work in linear algebra includes a famous paper with Jeffries and Klee in the Canadian Journal of Mathematics in which they characterize sign-stable matrices, as well as a series of papers in factorization theory. Many of the deep questions in matrix theory she has worked on have arisen from problems in biological modeling.

Dr. van den Driessche has played a major leadership role in the Canadian applied mathematics community and served as a mentor to a growing number of young mathematicians. A look at her impressive list of about 150 publications reveals an unusually large number of collaborators, many of them students and junior colleagues. The referees comment on her "tremendous productivity and vision" and describe her as an example and inspiration for new generations of mathematical researchers, women and men alike.

Dr. van den Driessche received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1961 and a Master of Science degree in 1963, both at Imperial College, and a Ph.D. in 1964 from University College of Wales, Aberystwyth. She joined the University of Victoria in 1965 and has been a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics there since 1983. She is currently cross-appointed in the Department of Computer Science.

She has organized numerous conferences, served on NSERC's Grant Selection Committee from 1992 to 1995, and served on the CMS Board of Directors and the Council of the Canadian Applied Mathematics Society (now CAIMS). She is an editor of the Canadian Applied Mathematics Quarterly and the SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics.

Dr. Pauline van den Driessche will present the 2007 Krieger-Nelson Prize Lecture at the CMS Summer Meeting hosted by the University of Manitoba in June 2007.


CMS 2006 Coxeter-James Prize: Dr. Jim Geelen (University of Waterloo)

The Coxeter-James Prize recognizes young mathematicians who have made outstanding contributions to mathematical research.

Dr. Jim Geelen is already a world leader in the areas of combinatorial optimization and matroid theory. The referees describe him as an "outstanding talent" and a "very creative and original researcher" with a "huge international reputation".

The following are among the highlights of his 30-odd papers. With Gerards and Kapoor, he characterized the matroids representable over the finite field GF(4), which had been considered an impossibly hard problem. Their paper is described as a "huge breakthrough". With Whittle, he has proved that among the set of excluded minors preventing representability of a matroid over a given finite field, there is only a finite number of matroids of a given branch-width. This is remarkably strong evidence in support of the Rota Conjecture.

Dr. Geelen has made important contributions to extending results of the Graph Minors Project from graphs to matroids. This is currently the main focus of matroid theory. A major step in this direction is his result with Gerards and Whittle that binary matroids with large branch-width contain big grids as minors. One of his contributions to combinatorial optimization is a deterministic algorithm for the maximum matching problem, simple to use but theoretically deep.

Dr. Geelen received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1992 from Curtin University in Australia, and a Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Professor William H. Cunningham. After postdoctoral fellowships in the Netherlands, Germany, and Japan, he returned to the University of Waterloo in 1997 and is now an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair.

He won the Doctoral Prize of the CMS in 1996 and the Fulkerson Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Programming Society in 2003. He received a Premier's Research Excellence Award from the Province of Ontario in 2000 and a Sloan Fellowship in 2002.

Dr. Jim Geelen will present the 2006 Coxeter-James Prize Lecture at the CMS Summer Meeting hosted by the University of Calgary in June 2006.



For more information, contact:

Dr. H.E.A. (Eddy) Campbell
President
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: 709-737-8246
president@cms.math.ca
  or   Dr. Graham P. Wright
Executive Director
Canadian Mathematical Society
Tel: (613) 562-5702 Cel: (613) 290-
3046
director@cms.math.ca

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