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2019 AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture

Catherine Sulem of the University of Toronto.
Catherine Sulem of the University of Toronto is the 2019 recipient of the AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture prize. She received her Doctorat d’Etat from the Université Paris-Nord in 1983 and held a French National Center for Scientific Research position at the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris before joining Toronto’s faculty in 1990.

Sulem works in nonlinear partial differential equations arising in wave propagation and received the Canadian Mathematical Society’s (CMS) Krieger-Nelson Prize in 1998. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015, as well as an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and the CMS in 2013 and 2018 respectively.

“The Sonia Kovalevsky Lectureship is of special significance to me,” Sulem said. “The Cauchy-Kovalevskaya theorem was among the first and deepest theorems I studied when I entered the field of partial differential equations (PDEs) as a graduate student, and I have used it extensively in my work.”

She continued to describe the research that won her the prize. “I work on nonlinear PDEs that model wave propagation arising in physical contexts such as fluid dynamics, nonlinear optics, and plasma physics,” Sulem said. “The main PDEs involved are the nonlinear Schrödinger equation and related systems and the water wave equations, which describe the motion of the free surface of a body of fluid under the influence of gravity and surface tension.”

The joint AWM-SIAM prize was established in 2002 to honor Sonia Kovalevsky and her work on the theory of differential equations. It is awarded to a female researcher in the scientific or engineering community whose work highlights the achievements of women in applied and computational mathematics.

Sulem will present her prize lecture at the 9th International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ICIAM 2019), to be held in Valencia, Spain, from July 15th-19th.

AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture: The Dynamics of Ocean Waves, Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 7:15 PM

Many aspects of mathematical analysis were originally motivated by the study of fluid dynamics; this is especially true of waves and currents in bodies of water. Sulem will discuss how mathematical analysis—combined with asymptotic theory and accurate numerical simulations—contributes to a better understanding of ocean wave dynamics at the ocean’s surface and in its interior for both regular and extreme events.

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