January 8, 2007
American Mathematical Society honors Harold Widom,
professor emeritus of mathematics
By Tim Stephens
Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics, will share the
2007 Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics with UC Davis professor
of mathematics Craig Tracy. Presented every three years by the American
Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics,
the Wiener Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to applied
mathematics in the highest and broadest sense.
Photo: Victor Schiffrin
The prize was awarded on January 6 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings
in New Orleans. The prize citation includes the following: "Craig
Tracy and Harold Widom have done deep and original work on Random Matrix
Theory, a subject which has remarkable applications across the scientific
spectrum, from the scattering of neutrons off large nuclei to the behavior
of the zeros of the Riemann zeta-function."
Widom and Tracy's widely acclaimed work has had a profound influence
in various areas of mathematics. They have discovered a new class of
distribution functions, called Tracy-Widom distributions, that arise in
many different situations.
The Wiener prize, which includes a $5,000 cash award, was established in
1967 in honor of Professor Norbert Wiener and was endowed by a fund from
the Department of Mathematics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.