Panayotis “Panos” Kevrekidis, Distinguished University Professor and professor of mathematics and statistics, recently was named a member of the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for “contributions in applied mathematics, especially in the theory and applications of nonlinear waves.” He is one of just 52 mathematical scientists from around the world to be recognized by their peers in the program, now in its eighth year.
Professor Jill Pipher, president of the Providence, Rhode Island-based society, said,“It is a great pleasure to offer my sincere congratulations to the new AMS Fellows, honored for their notable contributions to mathematics and to the profession. We are grateful to the nominators and the members of the selection committee for helping the AMS recognize the achievements of their esteemed colleagues through this fellowship.”
Kevrekidis says of the honor, “I am both honored and humbled by this selection. Having spent my entire professional career at UMass Amherst over the past 20 years, I genuinely feel that this distinction reflects on the kind of working environment that, more concretely my department and more broadly the university, have created to allow for the recognized body of work to take place. I am thus very thankful for all the support and the opportunities and very grateful to the AMS Fellows committee for recognizing not only my work but also my department and university through this honor.”
Kevrekidis says he thinks of his work as being highly inter-disciplinary, lying principally at the interface between mathematics and physics. He always likes to keep in mind how his models and equations can be tested and applied in the real world, be it in atomic, optical or materials physical applications. Kevrekidis’ work is especially focused on the propagation of nonlinear wave structures and how these differ from the standard, and simpler, linear wave propagation theory.
As he explains, nonlinear, also called solitary, wave patterns arise in a wide range of phenomena from water waves to the propagation of information in optical fibers or from ultracold atomic quantum systems – the coldest matter in the universe – to the human scale in the dynamics of tumors or in neural signaling in the brain. They are at work at very large scales such as gravitational waves, as well, he points out.
The mathematician adds that he very much enjoys working with students and young scholars, and has graduated more than 10 Ph.D. students and mentored about an equal number of post-Ph.D. young scholars. He also collaborates extensively with colleagues on campus and throughout the world, having held long-term visiting positions at the universities of Oxford, Heidelberg, Hamburg, Athens, Rouen, Minnesota and the Los Alamos National Lab, among others.
Kevrekidis is one of UMass Amherst’s most highly recognized researchers. Recent distinctions include being named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2014 and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2017. He has also received that society’s J.D. Crawford Prize in Dynamical Systems in 2013 and the T. Brooke Benjamin Prize for Nonlinear Waves in 2016, plus the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2015. He has been a Stanislaw M. Ulam Distinguished Scholar of the Los Alamos National Lab in 2014, a Greek Diaspora Fellow at the University of Athens in 2017 and a Leverhulme Trust Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford in 2019.