Theodore von Kármán Prize | SIAM

Theodore von Kármán Prize

Prize Specifications

Principal Guideline

The Theodore von Kármán Prize, established in 1968, is awarded for a notable application of mathematics to mechanics and/or the engineering sciences made during the five to ten years preceding the award. The award may be given for a significant achievement by one individual or a significant body of work that could have been produced by multiple contributors.

Prize Committee

The committee will be an ad hoc committee. On the advice of the vice president-at-large, the president will appoint three members, designating one member to be the chair. The appointments should be made at least eighteen months before the prize award date.

Committee members will be members of SIAM.

The term of office of the committee will be from the date of appointment until the date of the awarding of the prize. If the committee reports that no prize can be awarded and this report is accepted by the executive committee of the council, then the committee's duties will be completed.

Selection Procedures


The prize will normally be awarded to a member of SIAM. It may be awarded to a nonmember, but the standards for this exception should follow the example set by the first award of this prize (Sir Geoffrey Taylor, 1972).

Rules of Operation

The prize committee will follow the ‘best practices’ set out in the SIAM document for Selection Committees. The prize committee will follow the SIAM rules for conflicts of interest as posted on the SIAM web site.


The prize committee will report its findings to the president at least ten months prior to the prize award date. The prize committee must select at most one prize winner except in extraordinary cases. Exceptions to this rule must be approved in advance by the executive committee of the council. The nomination for the award must be accompanied by a written justification and a citation of about 100 words that can be read at award time. The president will report these findings to the executive committee of the council.

If the nomination is accepted, the award presentation will be made according to the procedure below.

If the nomination is not accepted, the prize committee may offer a second nomination. However, this must be done so as to allow acceptance or rejection by the executive committee at least nine months before the award date.

The Selection Committee has the authority to choose to abstain from giving the award if there is no acceptable individual. If the award is not given for this reason, a new selection committee will be selected for the next award cycle.[1] 

Notification of the Award

The president will notify the recipient not later than six months prior to the award and request a lecture as part of the prize ceremony and a manuscript for publication in SIAM Review.

Prize Award Date

The prize is given away every fifth year normally at the annual meeting of the society. If no prize is awarded, the award date then moves forward five years.

Description of the Award

The Theodore von Kármán Prize will be the sum of $2,000. This is to be drawn from income accrued to the prize fund. A suitable certificate will also be presented. If the executive committee of the council approves more than one prize recipient, the prize committee has to recommend the level of the award for them. However, the total amount to an individual shall not exceed $2,000 nor be less than $500. Reasonable travel expenses to the meeting will be paid by SIAM.

As part of the award, recipients will be requested to present a lecture at the meeting where the award is made

The Prize Fund

The initial funds for this prize were contributed by friends, colleagues and students of Theodore von Kármán.

Award Presentation

The award will be given by the president of SIAM. The chairman of the prize committee will announce the winner, read the citation, and present the winner to the president.

Announcement of the award will be in SIAM News and in other similar scientific and general periodicals.

[1] An award decision will also be postponed to the next cycle if the number of nominations does not meet the required number to forward to the selection committee. See SIAM Prize Policy for more information.

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