Andrew J. Majda

AndrewJ.Majda is the Morse Professor of Arts and Sciences at the Courant Institute of New York University. Born in East Chicago, Indiana on 30 January 1949, he received a B.S. degree from Purdue University in 1970 and a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University in 1973. He began his scientiﬁc career as a Courant Instructor at the Courant Institute from 1973–1975. Prior to returning to the Courant Institute in 1994, he held professorships at Princeton University (1984–1994), the University of California, Berkeley (1978–1984), and the University of California, Los Angeles (1976–1978).

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Science. His work has been honored by the National Academy of Science Prize in Applied Mathematics, the John von Neumann Prize of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Gibbs Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Wiener Prize of the American Mathematical Society and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Some of the most fundamental contributions of Majda and his collaborators in the area of wavefront propagation are the identiﬁcation and study of the absorbing boundary conditions for numerical computations of the wave equation in unbounded domains, which has had major impact in the ﬁeld over the last 30 years; the existence and stability analysis of multi-dimensional shock waves, which is the only available complete and general result to date about multidimensional systems; a model for detonation, now named for him, which has served as an important testing ground for both theoretical and numerical studies of detonation waves; and the theory of turbulent combustion, which has led to a new understanding of the effect of the environment in reaction–diffusion–combustion phenomena.

Majda has worked extensively in the general theory of ﬂuid dynamics, where, together with his collaborators, has made important and far-reaching contributions. Among them are the celebrated Beale–Kato–Majda theorem; a necessary and suffcient condition for the regularity of solutions to the 3-D Euler equations; an extensive analysis of the behavior of the advection and diffusion of a passive scalar by incompressible velocity ﬁelds whose statistical description involves a continuous range of excited scales; a mathematically rigorous equilibrium statistical theory for three-dimensional nearly parallel vortex ﬁlaments and the by-now-classical two-dimensional surface quasi-geostrophic ﬂow model which is used to predict the formation of sharp fronts between air masses in the atmosphere.

Majda has also made further revolutionary contributions to the development and analysis of mathematical models in atmosphere and ocean sciences. These include the multi-scale modeling and analysis of moist ﬂuid dynamics in the atmosphere and, in particular, the tropics; the development of ﬁltering methods for nonlinear chaotic systems; novel mathematical strategies for prediction and data assimilation in complex multi-scale systems, including new techniques for super-parametrization; reduced stochastic and statistical modeling for climate; and the development and exploitation of statistical physics methods in geophysical problems.