The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) awards the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession to an applied mathematician who has made noteworthy contributions to the furtherance of applied mathematics on the national level. The 2012 award goes to Barbara Lee Keyfitz of The Ohio State University.
Professor Keyfitz is a fitting recipient of the prize, as evidenced by her long-term and pervasive advocacy of applied mathematics in a career spanning several leadership roles. As the Director of the Fields Institute in Toronto (2004-2008), Keyfitz revitalized applied mathematics programming with initiatives such as the successful Fields-MITACS Industrial Problem-Solving workshops. An innovative graduate industrial research internship program was created for students all over Canada during her term on the Board of Directors of MITACS-NCE (Network of Centres of Excellence), a program that has since expanded to cover all disciplines. Closer links between SIAM’s US and Mexican communities are owed in part to Keyfitz’s efforts in organizing numerous SIAM-SMM (Mexican Mathematical Society) conferences. She has served as President of the Association for Women in Mathematics (2005-2006), as SIAM Vice President for Programs (1998-2003), and is currently the President of ICIAM.
If her contributions to the field need any reinforcing, Professor Keyfitz also received this year’s AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture for her pioneering and seminal contributions to the field of hyperbolic conservation laws. In collaboration with Herbert Kranzer, she introduced the novel and important notion of singular shocks and made the original study of their properties. Her research group also spearheaded the revival of the rigorous treatment of transonic gas flow, now a very active research area. Important applications of her work include aerodynamics and multiphase flow models in porous media. The AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture is awarded annually at the SIAM Annual Meeting to highlight significant contributions of women to applied or computational mathematics.
The Dr. Charles Saltzer Professor of Mathematics at the Ohio State University, Dr. Keyfitz was recognized for her contributions at the SIAM Annual Meeting held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from July 9-13. Dr. Keyfitz delivered the AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture, The Role of Characteristics in Conservation Laws, on Monday afternoon and accepted her awards the following day at the Prizes and Awards Luncheon. Watch a brief video recapping her prize lecture:
Keyfitz received her undergraduate education at the University of Toronto and her MS and PhD from the Courant Institute at New York University. She has served on the faculty of Columbia and Princeton universities, among other institutions, and was part of the faculty at the University of Houston for over two decades before joining the Ohio State University in 2009. Her research interests are in the field of nonlinear partial differential equations with emphasis on hyperbolic conservation laws and evolution equations that change type from hyperbolic to elliptic.