SIAG/Dynamical Systems: Snowbird Conference and Prizes

May 9, 2001

Yakov Sinai has been chosen by the SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems to give the first Jürgen Moser Lecture at the group's Snowbird meeting this month. The recently created prize recognizes Sinai for distinguished pioneering contributions to the probabilistic analysis of dynamical systems.
The SIAM Activity Group on Dynamical Systems seems to have perfected the art of organizing a conference. The now-biennial Snowbird meetings, in fact, are made up of so many sessions and draw so many participants that the group is in danger of outgrowing its popular site.

People who attend the Sixth SIAM Conference on Dynamical Systems, which will be held in Snowbird, May 20-24, will find the usual high-quality program, a mix of theory and applications, along with a meaningful addition: presentation for the first time of the two new SIAG/DS prizes.

The prizes, established since the last Snowbird meeting in memory of recently deceased colleagues Jürgen Moser and John David Crawford, will be awarded to Yakov Sinai of Princeton University and Björn Sandstede of Ohio State University, respectively.

Yakov Sinai was chosen to give the first Moser Lecture, an honor that recognizes distinguished lifetime achievement in dynamical systems and nonlinear science, for his "pioneering contributions to probabilistic analysis of dynamical systems: ergodic theory and entropy, Markov partitions and Gibbs measures, billiards and mathematical models of an ideal gas."

"Yasha Sinai has been instrumental in developing statistical theories of dynamical systems," says prize committee chair John Guckenheimer. "He initiated the theory that has been the foundation for interpreting the 'natural' measures associated to observations of chaotic dynamical systems. He analyzed models of billiards and ideal gases that are at the heart of the ergodic hypothesis of statistical mechanics."

These are only a few of the highlights of Sinai's contributions to dynamical systems in a career of more than forty years, Guckenheimer points out. Sinai, who was born and educated in Moscow, spent much of his career at Moscow State University, in the Laboratory of Probabilistic and Statistical Methods. Concurrently, he has been a senior researcher at the Landau Institute of Theoretical Physics, Academy of Sciences. He has been a professor of mathematics at Princeton since 1993.

His contributions have been recognized by membership in the Russian and U.S. Academies of Science, the Boltzman Gold Medal, the Heineman Prize, and the Markov Prize; in 1997, he followed Moser by two years in receiving the Wolf Foundation Prize in Mathematics. "Sinai was a good friend of Moser's," Guckenheimer points out, "making it fitting that he should be the first Moser Lecturer of the Dynamical Systems SIAG."

The prize created in memory of John David Crawford, who died in 1998 at the age of 44, recognizes recent outstanding work in dynamical systems and nonlinear science. The prize committee chose Björn Sandstede "for fundamental contributions to the study of spiral waves: based on deep work on the stability of nonlinear waves and symmetry-breaking bifurcations in systems with Euclidean symmetry." Sandstede, who received his PhD from the University of Stuttgart in 1993, has been a member of the Ohio State faculty since 1998. He spent the intervening years mainly as a research fellow at the Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis in Berlin.

Björn Sandstede, in recognition of his fundamental contributions to the study of spiral waves, will receive the first SIAG/DS J.D. Crawford Prize at the Snowbird meeting.

SIAG/DS chair Martin Golubitsky describes the awarding of the prize to Sandstede as "particularly fitting": John David Crawford "did some of his most noted research on the effect of Euclidean symmetry on pattern formation," he says. "The work of Sandstede and his co-workers is work that John David would have keenly followed."

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