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Lisa Braden-Harder M.S. Computer Science '91 Receives Innovation, Leadership Award

April 24, 2015

Photograph of Lisa Braden-HarderLisa Braden-Harder, CEO of Appen, a company selling highly specialized data sets that help machines learn to read, listen, and speak in 150 different languages, received the Small Business Innovation and Leadership Award at the 11th annual Connecticut Technology Council's Women of Innovation awards program. According to the press release, Ms. Braden-Harder was recognized for leading her company through an IPO on the Australian stock exchange earlier this year. She started the Butler Hill Group in 1993 before merging it with Australian-based Appen in 2010. The company now reaches more than 50 countries, with offices in San Francisco and Seattle as well as Europe and Asia, and employs 150 people. In addition to earning an MS in computer science from Courant in 1991, she received a BS in computer science from Purdue University in 1982.

Man of the Hour - Professor emeritus Louis Nirenberg

April 14, 2015

Louis NirenbergIt has been an eventful year for Professor Nirenberg, a Courant alumnus (MS, PhD '47) as well as a distinguished member of the faculty. The Institute celebrated his 90th birthday (a few months early) at a reception on October 17, 2014. We were pleased to be joined for the occasion by many of Louis' mathematical friends.

We were then thrilled to learn on March 25 that Professor Nirenberg was named a 2015 Abel Prize winner with John F. Nash, Jr. of Princeton. The Norwegian Academy of Sciences & Letters, which confers the prize, cited Professors Nirenberg and Nash “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.” The Institute celebrated with a reception on Monday, March 30. Colleagues, former students and friends offering their congratulations, anecdotes, and fond feelings for Professor Nirenberg included Institute Director Gerard Ben Arous who flew in from Paris, where he has been on sabbatical, Acting Director Mike Shelley, Mr. Martin Fossum of the Norwegian Consul’s office in New York, Bob Kohn, Jalal Shatah, former Nirenberg student Sergiu Klainerman, Peter Lax, Charles Fefferman and NYU President John Sexton.

Holidays and History

April 13, 2015

Brittany ShieldsThe annual Holiday Lecture was given in December by Brittany Shields (GSAS ’08), presenting “The Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences: A Historical Perspective, 1934-1972”. At the time of the lecture a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Shields has written and presented extensively about the Courant Institute and Mathematics at NYU, including her master’s thesis: “A Sociological and Historical Study of the Early Development of New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences”. She spoke more recently on Richard Courant and NYU’s mathematics enterprise during World War II at the American Mathematical Society Spring Eastern Sectional Meeting on March 8 in Washington, DC.

Peter Lax Biography by Reuben Hersh – Book Signing April 23 at 4 pm

April 12, 2015

Photograph of Peter LaxProfessor emeritus Peter Lax (PhD ’49) is the subject of a new biography written by Reuben Hersh (PhD ’60) and published by the American Mathematical Society. Peter Lax, Mathematician: An Illustrated Memoir, which appeared in early 2015, covers the Abel Prize winning mathematician’s life from his early life in pre-World War II Hungary to the present. In an engaging volume of text and pictures, Hersh devotes chapters to Lax’s youth in Budapest, his involvement in the atomic bomb project, students and colleagues in the Courant Institute, the momentous late-1960’s, and descriptions of Lax’s mathematical achievements. An ample section of Appendices includes a profile of Lax’s late wife, the mathematician Anneli Cahn Lax, Lax’s own writings on John Von Neumann and Richard Courant, and writings about and by Lax’s late son John. Lax’s C.V., bibliography, a list of academic “offspring” and numerous photographs of family and colleagues complete the picture. Peter Duren (U. Mich) called the book “…well researched and full of interesting facts, yet light-hearted and lively” and Courant’s own Gérard Ben Arous commented “This book brings out both the personal and professional aspects of Peter's work in a captivating manner. It is a great read for people who know Peter as well as for those who do not."

Reuben Hersh has written and co-written numerous popularly-received books on mathematics for general and specialist audiences, including his and Philip Davis’ National Book Award-winning The Mathematical Experience. He is professor of mathematics, emeritus at the University of New Mexico.

Professors Lax and Hersh will be in the Warren Weaver Hall 13th Floor Lounge for a book signing on Thursday, April 23 at 4 pm.

Mathematical Sciences Alumna and Husband Together as Courant Math Faculty

April 11, 2015

Photograph of Miranda Holmes-CerfonCourant Assistant Professor of Mathematics Miranda Holmes-Cerfon (PhD ’10) and Assistant Professor Antoine Cerfon both received 2014 Early Career Research Program awards from the Department of Energy. They were featured as the June 14, 2014 cover story of Advance Scientific Computing Research (ASCR)’s newsletter “At the Universities”. The story covered the interrelationship between Holmes-Cerfon’s work on molecular self-assembly and Cerfon’s work on temperature control of hot plasmas during sustained nuclear fusion, and how “the two have influenced each other toward energy-related research.” Holmes-Cerfon earned her PhD in Courant’s Center for Atmosphere and Ocean Science, which she followed with post-doctoral work at Harvard. She joined the Courant faculty in 2013 after serving as a Courant Instructor in 2012. Antoine, who earned his PhD in Applied Plasma Physics at MIT, joined the Institute in 2012.


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