Douglas N. Arnold

Douglas N. Arnold

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Applied Mathematics

Competition: US & Canada

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Douglas N. Arnold is the McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He is a research nathematician and educator with a strong interest in mathematics in interdisciplinary research and in the public understanding of the role of mathematics. Beginning in January 2009, Mr. Arnold will serve a two-year term as president of SIAM, the world’s leading professional organization for applied mathematics and computational scientists, followed by a year as past president.

Professor Arnold’s research interests include numerical analysis, partial differential equations, mechanics, and in particular, the interplay between these fields. Much of his work concerns the computer solution of partial differential equations, focusing on the development and understanding of methods for stimulating physical phenomena ranging from the deformation of elastic plates and shells to the collision of black holes. Around 2002, he initiated the finite element exterior calculus, a new approach to the stability of finite element methods based on geometric and topological structure underlying the relevant partial differential equations. The development of the finite element exterior calculus is a major direction of his current research work and his focus during his Guggenheim Fellowship term.

From 2001 through 2008, Professor Arnold served as director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), a partnership of the National Science Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and a consortium of participating universities, laboratories, and corporations. Under Arnold’s leadership it grew to be the largest mathematics research investment in the history of the National Science Foundation.

Professor Arnold received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1979. From 1979 through 1989 he was on the faculty of the University of Maryland. In 1989 he moved to Penn State University where he was appointed Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, and where he remained until moving to the University of Minnesota and assuming the position of Director at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in August 2001.

Arnold has written about 80 papers, serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals, and has been designated as a Highly Cited Author by Thomas ISI. In 1991, he was awarded the first International Giovanni Sacchi Landriani Prize by the Scademy of Arts and Letters of Lonbardy Institute in Milan in 1991 for "outstanding contributions to the field of numerical methods for partial differential equations." In 2002 he was plenary lecturer at the International Congress of Mathematics in Beijing. Arnold serves or has served on a variety of advisory and scientific boards, including the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, the Program Committee for the International Congress of Mathematics, and the scientific boards of DIMACS, the Centre of Mathematics for Applications in Oslo, and the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh. At Penn State he was awarded the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching by the University in 1996, the Teresa Cohen Service Award by the Mathematics Department in 1998, and the Distinguished Service Award by the Eberly College of Science in 2000. There he also served as co-director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Applications and as associate director of the Institute for High Performance Computing Applications, and was a member of the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry.

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