Portland Highlights 2004 SIAM Annual Meeting July 12-16

September 26, 2004

It would be hard to find an area of fluid mechanics in which Roland Glowinski hasn't had an impact, said SIAM president Mac Hyman in awarding Glowinski the 2004 Theodore von Kármán Prize. Glowinski, the Cullen Professor of Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Houston, was cited for "his sustained outstanding contributions to mechanics and applied and computational mathematics, especially in the area of complex problems in fluid mechanics."

The citation goes on to point out that "many of his contributions are in the spirit of von Kármán." Proud to agree, Glowinski offered the audience a few specifics: In June 1960, on graduating from l'Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he spent two months at the Commercial Division of the Boeing Airplane Company in Renton, Washington (a few hundred miles north of Portland). There, he was involved in two projects: one related to the design of parts of the Boeing 727, in the course of which he learned about "von Kármán flaps," and the other related to artificial satellites. The lessons of the second project concerned the kinematics and dynamics of rigid-body motions, methods and concepts that proved useful to Glowinski many years later when he began to work on fluid-rigid body interactions---work that he considers central to the prize committee's decision to award him the von Kármán prize.

Glowinski gave the prize lecture, "On the Numerical Simulation of Incompressible Viscous Flow with Moving or Free Boundary: Applications," on July 14.

Even in absentia, Richard Tapia has a way of bringing people together, often in laughter. Such was the case at the prize luncheon held in Portland during the SIAM Annual Meeting, when Tapia, unable to attend, was named the 2004 recipient of the SIAM Prize for Distinguished Service to the Profession. Margaret Wright, who received the prize in 2000, made the presentation; Talithia Daniel, a third-year Rice graduate student in statistics (below left), accepting on behalf of Tapia, didn't deliver a promised Tapia imitation but came through with a fitting tribute to Tapia, who has been "so much more than an adviser" for countless minority and women students at Rice. "His concern for us extends beyond the classroom into his own home as he constantly invites us over to socialize, network, and build community. There is no one more deserving of this award than Richard Tapia."

In a written acceptance, Tapia, the Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University, expressed gratitude to Rice, his academic home for more than thirty years, and to SIAM, in which he has found "a wonderful home, which has supported his outreach activities."
Tapia was cited in part "for his extensive and tireless work in mentoring and encouraging minority and female students in mathematics, science, and engineering, as well as for his many contributions to applied mathematics, particularly optimization."

The citation refers to the "dozens of awards" and honors Tapia has received in the course of his career, including a Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998). Tapia was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1992 and was named Hispanic Engineer of the Year by Hispanic Engineer Magazine in 1996.

Of the many and varied contributions to SIAM for which he was cited, perhaps none is more important than the energy he has put into "helping to make SIAM a more inclusive organization."


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