National Medal of Science to Carl de Boor

April 1, 2005

On March 14, Carl de Boor was one of eight scientists awarded the National Medal of Science in a White House ceremony. A professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin, where he spent more than three decades, de Boor was the Steenbock Professor of Mathematical Sciences and the P.L. Chebyshev Professor of Mathematics and Computer Sciences at the time of his retirement (2003).

Many readers, on hearing de Boorís name, will (correctly) think immediately of splines. Some will know his Practical Guide to Splines (1978), widely considered the standard reference for scientists and engineers applying splines. Many will remember the talk he gave in 1996 as SIAMís John von Neumann lecturer.

Last summer, in an invited talk at the 2004 SIAM Annual Meeting, Tom Grandine made a compelling case for the importance of splines in the aircraft industry, surveying the application side of de Boorís contributions in the process. An article based on that talk is in the works for SIAM News, as is a report on de Boorís significant fundamental contributions as a theoretician. Meanwhile, SIAM congratulates Carl de Boor on this richly deserved honor.

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