Applied Mathematician Qiang Du Elected an AAAS Fellow


Qiang Du, Fu Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics
—Photo Credit: Jeffrey Schifman

Qiang Du, the Fu Foundation Professor of Applied Mathematics, has been elected a 2017 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for his “distinguished contributions to the field of applied and computational mathematics, particularly for theoretical analysis and numerical simulations of mathematical models in various applications.” He joins 391 new fellows awarded this honor from the AAAS, founded in 1848 and now the world's largest multidisciplinary scientific society.

“I am honored to join this esteemed group,” says Du, who is also chair of the School’s applied math program and a member of the Data Science Institute. “This is particularly significant to me as an applied mathematician, given the broad representation of AAAS in science and engineering and its social impact. Also, most important, I am happy to share this recognition with my students, postdocs, and collaborators.”

Du’s research covers many areas of applied mathematics and computational sciences, including modeling, analysis, algorithms, and computation, with selected applications in physical, biological, materials, and information sciences. He has developed approaches to mathematically model and simulate defects and interfaces in nature, such as materials phase boundaries, cracks and fractures, biological membranes, and quantized vortices in superconductors and Bose-Einstein condensates (a state of matter with atoms cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero.) He has also contributed to the design of space tessellation and mesh generation strategies, and developed mathematical models to explore hidden structure and information in images and data. He has been recognized with numerous awards and was selected to be a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics in 2013.

“It is fun to work at the interface of mathematical, computational, and data sciences and to collaborate with experts in other domains,” Du, who leads the Computational Mathematics and Multiscale Modeling (CM3) group and has a number of ongoing interdisciplinary research projects with several Columbia colleagues, says. “We live in an age where the advent of computing technology is rapidly transforming our society and how mathematics get used in applications. What has intrigued me the most in my research are the challenging questions that have strong practical motivations and demand new mathematical and computational tools for their solutions.”

Du joins six colleagues at the Engineering School who have received this honor: Aron Pinczuk, professor of applied physics and physics (2001); Jeannette Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and professor of computer science (2007); Shih-Fu Chang, senior executive vice dean and Richard Dicker Professor of Telecommunications and professor of computer science (2010); Peter Schlosser, earth and environmental engineering department chair, Maurice Ewing and J. Lamar Worzel Professor of Geophysics, professor of earth and environmental sciences, and associate director at the Earth Institute (2010); Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Medical Sciences (in Medicine) (2014); and Paul Sajda, professor of biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and radiology (2016). 

The new AAAS fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 17 during the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, TX.

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