Applied Mathematics Professor Mark Ablowitz was named CU Distinguished Professor by the CU Board of Regents on November 12, 2020. The title "Distinguished Professor" is the highest honor that the University of Colorado bestows on its own faculty members. Mark Ablowitz joins a cohort of only 118 faculty (since 1977) across all five CU campuses who have been granted this honorary designation. As noted by Applied Mathematics Professor and Department Chair Keith Julien, "Mark is the first faculty in the Department of Applied Mathematics' 31 year history to receive this prestigious honor." Mark Ablowitz was recognized for his groundbreaking research, academic leadership, and prolific mentoring and teaching over a career spanning more than 50 years.
He has made groundbreaking contributions to the fields of nonlinear waves, integrable systems, fluid mechanics, and nonlinear optics. From the light we see and the ocean swells we surf down to the most fundamental description of matter itself, waves are ubiquitous in nature. Their mathematical description is essential for both understanding fundamental physical processes as well as harnessing their potential in applications. Mark Ablowitz's research focuses on the derivation and analysis of nonlinear partial differential equations while always keeping concrete applications in sight. From more familiar applications like water waves and fiber optic communications, to more exotic states of matter like photonic graphene and Bose-Einstein condensates, his research reverberates far and wide, with new model equations, analysis techniques, and predictions that he has produced preoccupying mathematicians, physicists, and engineers alike.
After serving as Dean of Science at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY, Mark Ablowitz came to CU Boulder in 1989 as the founder and Director of the newly formed Program in Applied Mathematics. His direction and leadership led to eight years of rapid growth and the creation of the Department of Applied Mathematics in 1996, for which Mark Ablowitz served as the inaugural chair. The Department is now recognized as a world-class applied mathematics department, ranked 14th in the nation by US News & World Report and highly ranked by the National Research Council in its 2010 decadal survey.
In addition to his excellence in research and leadership, Mark Ablowitz's legacy is carried on by the 19 Ph.D. students and 27 post-doctoral fellows he has advised and mentored over his career, 27 of whom hold faculty positions or research positions in academia or national labs. Mark Ablowitz's courses on complex variables and nonlinear waves, taught using popular textbooks that he wrote, are student favorites.
In all aspects of scholarly life, Mark Ablowitz truly embodies the title of CU Distinguished Professor. Congratulations Distinguished Professor Mark Ablowitz!