Florida State researcher named charter fellow of math society

Max Gunzburger

Florida State University Professor Max Gunzburger has been named one of the charter fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the leading applied mathematics society in the world.

Gunzburger, a Francis Eppes Professor and chair of the Department of Scientific Computing, is one of 183 members of the inaugural class of the SIAM Fellows Program. Fellowship is an honorific designation conferred on members distinguished for their outstanding contributions to the fields of applied mathematics and computational science.

The charter group of fellows represents the diversity of the SIAM membership and includes men and women from five continents who work in academia, industry and government laboratories. They will be recognized at a luncheon held on July 7 during the SIAM Annual Meeting in Denver.

"This is a signal honor for Max," said Joseph Travis, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The SIAM is a very large professional society, and the scientists who made the selections had to choose among a great many superb mathematicians. There is no greater accolade than to have one’s colleagues recognize you as among the very best of the best."

Until now, mathematics societies worldwide have not named fellows, but Gunzburger said there has been growing awareness about the benefits of naming fellows as professional societies do in many other disciplines. For one thing, not having fellows programs has put mathematics researchers at a disadvantage when competing against researchers from other disciplines for funding and even recognition within universities for things such as endowed chairs.

Last year, SIAM awarded Gunzburger one of its most prestigious honors, the W.T. and Idelia Reid Prize in Mathematics.

"To be among the first group of applied mathematicians selected by SIAM to be a fellow of the society is a great honor," Gunzburger said. "It is quite humbling to be listed among the other charter fellows and to have this honor bestowed a year after receiving the Reid Prize. As is the case for almost everyone receiving such recognition for their professional accomplishments, whatever I did to deserve being named a SIAM fellow was greatly aided by many students, postdocs and colleagues, all of whom I warmly thank." Gunzburger came to Florida State in 2002 from Iowa State University where he served as a distinguished professor and chair of the mathematics department. As an Eppes professor, Gunzburger is among the university’s most eminent scholars.

His research involves developing, analyzing, implementing and applying computational algorithms to help engineers and scientists solve problems in areas including fluid mechanics, materials, climate change, groundwater flows, acoustics, image processing, risk assessment and superconductivity. For example, he has developed algorithms for controlling fluid flows in order to reduce the drag around moving objects, such as airplane wings. The practical implications of such research could mean a reduction of fuel consumption in commercial aircraft.

Before Iowa State, Gunzburger was on the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Carnegie Mellon University; and the University of Tennessee. He began his career as a research scientist and assistant professor at New York University and followed that with research positions at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory and the Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering.

Gunzburger received his doctorate in 1969 from New York University, where he also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He is a member of SIAM and has served as editor-in-chief of the SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis and as chair of the Board of Trustees of SIAM. SIAM is an international community of more than 11,000 members, including applied and computational mathematicians, computer scientists and other scientists and engineers.