Physics, mathematics professors collect four awards from around the globe

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

Faculty members in physics and mathematics recently have rounded up a variety of awards.

Leo Kadanoff, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Physics and Mathematics, has received the 2011 Newton Medal from the London-based Institute of Physics. He was cited “for inventing conceptual tools that reveal the deep implications of scale invariance on the behavior of phase transitions and dynamical systems.” Inaugurated in 2008, the Newton Medal is awarded for outstanding contributions to physics regardless of subject area, background or nationality.

An Alexander von Humboldt Research Award has gone to Marcela Carena, Professor in Physics at UChicago and a senior scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, recognizing her lifetime of achievement in theoretical particle physics research. A native of Argentina, Carena will spend one to two months per year starting at various German institutions, including Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, where she will work with theoretical particle physicist Mattias Neubert.

Jack Cowan, professor in mathematics, has received the 2011 Helmholtz Award from the International Neural Network Society “for his many years of contribution and achievements in understanding sensation/perception.” Cowan has conducted research on how to build reliable computers with unreliable elements, the population dynamics of large-scale neural networks, and the statistical mechanics of networks of neuron-like elements.

Jim Douglas Jr., professor emeritus in mathematics at UChicago and Compere and Marcella Loveless Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Computational Mathematics at Purdue University, was among 34 academics and professionals named to the 2011 class of fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics for outstanding contributions through research and service to in the field. He was cited “for research on numerical methods for partial differential equations and their applications to the simulation of flows in porous media.”

Douglas’s interest areas include computational modeling and numerical analysis, simulation of flows in porous media, attenuated waves, and inverse and non-well-posed problems.