Quality trumped quantity for the SIAM community this spring when the U.S. National Academy of Sciences held its annual election of new members. Three SIAM members were among the newly elected: John Bell of Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Wendell Fleming of Brown University, and Ruth Williams of the University of California, San Diego.
In the case of Bell and Fleming, SIAM had already recognized their contributions in one of the most meaningful possible ways: Each was the first recipient of an important new SIAM prize—the Reid Prize for Fleming (1994) and the SIAM/ACM Prize in CSE for Bell (2003, with Phil Colella). And in 2009, when SIAM inaugurated its fellows program, both were named to the initial class (Bell “for contributions to numerical methods for the partial differential equations of computational science,” Fleming “for contributions to optimal control”).
Fleming is currently a University Professor Emeritus in the Division of Applied Mathematics at Brown, where he spent almost his entire career. In 1994, the Reid Prize committee cited him “for pioneering re-search in geometric measure theory, the calculus of variations, differential games, and stochastic control and filtering.”
Since his retirement in 1995, Fleming continues to live in Rhode Island, where, he says, he has been “moderately active mathematically.” A sample of results from that activity include a paper on financial mathematics (“The Tradeoff Between Consumption and Investment in Incomplete Financial Markets,” with Daniel Hernandez-Hernandez), and two recent papers on risk-sensitive stochastic control and differential games (all published in Applied Mathematics & Optimization).
John Bell, director of the Center for Computational Sciences and Engineering at LBNL, is also the deputy director of the Department of Energy’s Combustion Exascale Co-Design Center. DOE established the latter to investigate numerical algorithms, data management, and programming models that will be needed to simulate combustion on exascale computer architectures.
Among the projects led by Bell at LBNL is a three-dimensional simulation of turbulent methane combustion. His work on numerical methods has included contributions in the areas of finite difference methods, numerical methods for low-Mach-number flows, adaptive mesh refinement, interface tracking, and parallel computing. In addition to combustion, he has applied these methods to problems in shock physics, seismology, flow in porous media, and astrophysics.
Ruth Williams, a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, San Diego, works in probability and on stochastic processes and their application. She is the current president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics.
Also elected to NAS this year was László Lovász, a professor of computer science at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest. He works in combinatorial optimization, algorithms, complexity, graph theory, and random walks.