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Press Release


SBU Mathematics Professor Elected to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

May 9, 2013 - 10:00:00 AM

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H. Blaine Lawson Jr., PhD
STONY BROOK, NY, May 9, 2013 – H. Blaine Lawson Jr., PhD, a SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. He will be formally inducted at a ceremony at Academy headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 12, 2013.

Dr. Lawson’s mathematical research has essentially been in the area of (differential and algebraic) geometry, although the problems he has worked on have varied greatly over the years. His earliest work was in the field of “minimal surfaces” or surfaces of least area like those formed by soap films spanning a wire frame. In his thesis, he discovered (proved the existence of) minimal surfaces of all possible topological types in the 3-sphere and later established the existence of codimension-1 foliations of the 5-sphere (and spheres of higher dimension). A foliation is a decomposition of the space into “leaves” much like the leaves of a book. The existence of such structures had been an outstanding problem for some time.

“I am greatly honored,” said Dr. Lawson. “It is rare to receive recognition for mathematical accomplishments from outside the field, so this election means a lot to me and my colleagues.”

In his illustrious career, Dr. Lawson has proved a number of theorems which have been well received and quoted, including those on algebraic cycles; work with Reese Harvey on the theory of calibrations and on boundaries of complex analytic varieties; with Misha Gromov, the Gromov-Lawson Conjecture, about spaces of positive scalar curvature; Jim Simons and Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, proving that stability implies self duality for Yang-Mills fields in Physics; with Eric Friedlander on algebraic cycles and the moving lemma, Marie-Louise Michelsohn, with whom he wrote several papers in geometry and a book about Spinors, Dirac Operators and the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem, which has become standard reference.

“As one of the world’s leading mathematicians, Professor Lawson is well-deserving of this tremendous honor,” said Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University. “His work has been, and continues to be, truly transformative to his field.”

Dr. Lawson received his BA from Brown University and his PhD from Stanford University. He was a 1973 recipient of the American Mathematical Society's Leroy P. Steele Prize, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995. He is a former recipient of both the Sloan Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship, and has delivered two invited addresses at International Congresses of Mathematicians, one on geometry, and one on topology. He has served as Vice President of the American Mathematical Society, and is a foreign member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He has authored nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications, six books, 12 survey articles and numerous reviews.  He has also been an editor of several journals.
 
Please click here for an alphabetical list of all 198 new members.

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About the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other prominent early-American leaders, the Academy has been electing leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th century and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th century. Current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners. The current membership includes some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts. Among the new fellows of the Academy are winners of the Nobel Prize; National Medal of Science; the Lasker Award; the Pulitzer and the Shaw Prizes; the Fields Medal; MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships; the Kennedy Center Honors; Grammy, Emmy, Academy and Tony awards; and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.

About the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University
The Department of Mathematics was founded in 1958, and in recent years has ranked among the top 20 in the country. Particular strengths include differential and symplectic geometry, algebraic geometry, algebraic topology, complex analysis, and their applications to mathematical physics.


© Stony Brook University 2013

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