Panayotis Kevrekidis To Receive Prestigious CAREER Award

from the National Science Foundation

 

by Richard S. Ellis

rsellis@math.umass.edu

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

University of Massachusetts

November 12, 2003

 

Professor Panayotis Kevrekidis, a member of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Massachusetts since September 2001, has been selected to receive a $400,000 award by the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program.  Such an award is often considered to be the most prestigious that the National Science Foundation bestows upon young faculty members, recognizing and supporting the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who are most likely to become the academic leaders of the 21st century.  It is a  great honor for Professor Kevrekidis to be selected for this special funding and for our department to have as a faculty member such a  productive and outstanding scientist.

 

The focus of Professor Kevrekidis’ research proposal is the exciting topic of Bose-Einstein condensation in gases, a new form of matter at the coldest temperatures in the universe.  Predicted in the work of Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein in 1924, achieved in the laboratory in 1995, and honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, Bose-Einstein condensation is now the object of intensive and ever growing theoretical and experimental study.  Reasons for the excitement about this topic are its relevance to areas such as superconductivity and superfluidity—the subject of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003—and its potential applicability to numerous areas including quantum computation and atom lasers.

 

In his research program, Professor Kevrekidis will examine the behavior of solitary, nonlinear wave structures in the setting of Bose-Einstein condensates.  The effort will be undertaken at three different levels: creating the solitary waves, manipulating the waves, and combining the waves to create patterns.  His multidisciplinary research combines sophisticated mathematical analysis, fundamental physical principles, and powerful computational resources.  Professor Kevrekidis’ expertise in each of these diverse areas is a key reason for his having been selected to receive the prestigious CAREER award.

 

After receiving his Ph.D. in the Department of Physics at Rutgers University in 2000, Professor Kevrekidis spent the following academic year as a joint postdoctoral research fellow in the Center for Nonlinear Studies and in the Theoretical Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory and in the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University.  Professor Kevrekidis is a prolific researcher, having published nearly 100 papers in the top journals in mathematical physics. 

 

At the heart of the research program supported by his CAREER award is its educational component.  Professor Kevrekidis hopes to use the award to train applied mathematicians from the undergraduate to the postdoctoral level to work in diverse areas of application involving condensed matter and atomic physics, nonlinear optics, and wave phenomena.  It is not a surprise that Professor Kevrekidis puts special emphasis upon  the educational component of his work.  As a complement to his prolific and deep research in mathematics and physics, Professor Kevrekidis has also been a devoted and extremely popular teacher of undergraduates at the university.  He was recently nominated for a Distinguished Teacher Award.