Mathematics Conference Honoring Prominent UH Professor to Attract Leading Researchers from U.S., Abroad


Eminent computational scientists from Europe and the United States will gather in Houston this week for a two-day conference and banquet honoring a world-renowned University of Houston mathematician on his 70th birthday.

UH is hosting the USA Conference on Applied and Numerical PDEs (partial differential equations) March 9-10 to acknowledge the many career achievements of Roland Glowinski, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Professor of Mathematics. Glowinski, who also is a mechanical engineering professor, is widely recognized as an expert on numerical analysis and variational methods.

The Department of Mathematics, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM), the College of Technology and the Texas Learning and Computation Center (TLC2) are sponsoring the event.

Much of Glowinski’s work involves computer simulations to describe scientific, medical and engineering problems mathematically. He is well-known for his research on new mathematic models of particular flow and for the application of mathematical and computational methods to the design of a new class of heart valves.

Organizers expect up to 100 attendees at the conference, to be opened by Donald Birx, UH vice president for research. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, March 9, and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, March 10 in Room 232 of Philip G. Hoffman Hall on the UH campus. Speakers comprise 16 scientists from Écloe Polytechnique and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie – Paris 6, France; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; Los Alamos National Laboratory; Stanford University; the California Institute of Technology; the University of Texas at Austin; the University of Texas at Dallas; Rice University; and UH. The schedule is accessible online at http://www.math.uh.edu/~pan/Seminar/seminar/program-online.pdf.

An estimated 80 guests also will gather at the Petroleum Club of Houston Friday evening to celebrate Glowinski’s 70th birthday, which is that day. William Fitzgibbon, dean of the UH College of Technology, will preside over the event, with reflections given by Jacques Periaux, Distinguished Professor, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland; and Mary Wheeler, Ernest and Virginia Cockrell Chair of Engineering and director of the Center for Subsurface Modeling, UT Austin. Jeffrey Morgan, chair of the UH Department of Mathematics, will make a presentation on behalf of NSM.

Since coming to UH in 1985, Glowinski has amassed numerous honors, including election as a member of the French Academy of Sciences in 2005, on the same day as one of the 2005 Nobel Prize Laureates in Chemistry. Other honors are membership in the French National Academy of Technology, the Academia Europaea and the Morningside Group, which promotes computational and applied mathematics in China; and induction as a chevalier in the Légion d’Honneur, the French equivalent of knighthood. He also received the Esther Farfel award, the highest honor bestowed on a member of the UH faculty, and the Theodore von Kármán Prize, an international honor awarded only every five years.

Growing up under challenging conditions during World War II as a Jewish youth in Nazi-occupied France, Glowinski went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in communication engineering and worked as an engineer for the French broadcasting system. After earning master’s and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics, he served from 1970-1985 as scientific director of INRIA, the French national institute for computational science, and from 1981-1985 as a department chair at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, where he is professor emeritus. Glowinski also received an honorary doctorate from the internationally recognized research campus of the University of Jyvaskyla, where he has been a docent professor of computational and applied mathematics since 2001.

He has authored seven books and authored or co-authored more than 300 research articles, and served as editor for more than 20 scientific reviews and anthologies.