Nick Trefethen, Professor of Numerical Analysis at University of Oxford, is the 2020 recipient of the John von Neumann Prize
, the highest honor and flagship lecture of Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
, in recognition of his ground-breaking contributions across many areas of numerical analysis. He is well known as the inventor of pseudospectra for the study of non-normal matrices and operators.
Trefethen earned his A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University (1977), followed by his M.S. in Computer Science and Numerical Analysis from Stanford University (1980), and finally his Ph.D. also in Computer Science and Numerical Analysis from Stanford University (1982). Outside of his accomplishments in academia he has also served as SIAM President (2011-2012) and is a SIAM Fellow (Class of 2009).
As an author he is known for his books Numerical Linear Algebra (SIAM, 1997, with David Bau, III), Spectral Methods in MATLAB (SIAM, 2000), Schwarz-Christoffel Mapping (Cambridge U. Press, 2002, with Toby Driscoll), Spectra and Pseudospectra: The Behavior of Nonnormal Matrices and Operators (Princeton, 2005, with Mark Embree), and Approximation Theory and Approximation Practice (SIAM, 2013), with the newest book Exploring ODEs, which appeared in 2017 (with Asgeir Birkisson and Toby Driscoll). He also published a collection of micro-essays called Trefethen's Index Cards (World Scientific, 2011).
SIAM awards the John von Neumann Prize annually to an individual for outstanding and distinguished contributions to the field of applied mathematics and for the effective communication of these ideas to the community. It is one of SIAM’s most distinguished prizes as well as an important lecture at the SIAM Annual Meeting. The selection committee states, “He is an outstanding expositor of applied mathematics and his books are beautifully written, widely accessible, and highly original.”
The John von Neumann Lecture was established in 1959 to honor von Neumann, a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, and computer scientist, whose seminal work helped lead to the founding of modern computing.
Learn more about SIAM’s John von Neumann Prize.