Douglas N. Arnold is the McKnight Presidential Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He is a research mathematician and educator with a strong interest in mathematics in interdisciplinary research and in the public understanding of the role of mathematics. Prof. Arnold serves as past-president of SIAM, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, having served as president in 2009 and 2010. SIAM is the world's leading professional organization for applied mathematicians and computational scientists.
Prof. Arnold's research interests include numerical analysis, partial differential equations, mechanics, and in particular, the interplay between these fields. Much of his work concerns the computer solution of partial differential equations, focusing on the development and understanding of methods for simulating physical phenomena ranging from the deformation of elastic plates and shells to the collision of black holes. Around 2002 he initiated the finite element exterior calculus, a new approach to the stability of finite element methods based on geometric and topological structure underlying the relevant partial differential equations. The development of the finite element exterior calculus is a major direction of his current research work.
From 2001 through 2008, Prof. Arnold served as director of the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA). The primary mission of the IMA is to increase the impact of mathematics by fostering interdisciplinary research linking mathematics with important scientific and technological problems from other disciplines and industry. The IMA is a partnership of the National Science Foundation, the University of Minnesota, and a consortium of participating universities, laboratories, and corporations. Under Arnold's leadership it grew to be the largest mathematics research investment in the history of the National Science Foundation.
Prof. Arnold received his Ph.D. degree in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1979. From 1979 through 1989 he was on the faculty of the University of Maryland. In 1989 he moved to Penn State University where he was appointed Distinguished Professor Mathematics, and where he remained until moving to University of Minnesota and assuming the position of Director at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications in August 2001.
Arnold has written about 80 papers, serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals, and has been designated as a Highly Cited Author by Thomson ISI. In 1991 he was awarded the first International Giovanni Sacchi Landriani Prize by the Lombardy Institute Academy of Arts and Letters in 1991 for "outstanding contributions to the field of numerical methods for partial differential equations." He is highly sought after as a speaker and has delivered plenary lectures at the International Congress of Mathematicians (Beijing 2002) and the Joint Mathematics Meetings (Washington, DC, 2009). In 2008 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2009 he was elected a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In the same year he was appointed a SIAM Fellow for his "contributions to finite elements and the numerical analysis of partial differential equations." In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and in 2012 he was appointed a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). Arnold serves or has served on a variety of advisory and scientific boards, including the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, the Program Committee for the International Congress of Mathematicians, and the scientific boards of DIMACS, the Centre of Mathematics for Applications in Oslo, and the Maxwell Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh. At Penn State he was awarded the George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching by the University in 1996, the Teresa Cohen Service Award by the Mathematics Department in 1998, and the Distinguished Service Award by the Eberly College of Science in 2000. There he also served as co-director of the Center for Computational Mathematics and Applications and as associate director of the Institute for High Performance Computing Applications, and was a member of the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry.
Among Arnold's priorities are efforts to increase public understanding of mathematics and its role in society, and he is frequently cited in print and broadcast media. In 2007 he coauthored an award winning video, Möbius Transformations Revealed, which became a runaway hit on YouTube, with about two million views.
Updated June 30, 2009