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Adrian Constantin, Professor for Partial Differential Equations at the University of Vienna since September 1st


Adrian Constantin, born in Temeswar in 1970, graduated in 1988 from the German-speaking primary and secondary school "Nikolaus Lenau". Graduate studies in Mathematics ("Maîtrise de Mathématiques Pures" 1991 and "Diplôme d'Études Approfondies" 1992) at the University of Nice were followed by PhD studies at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (New York University), the PhD-degree being conferred in 1996 (advisor Professor H.P. McKean and co-advisor Professor P.D. Lax). Shortly thereafter Adrian Constantin was active as Assistent and subsequently as Oberassistent at the University of Basel, respectively at the University of Zürich. He obtained his Habilitation in 1999 from the University of Zürich. A brief appointment as Lecturer in Applied Mathematics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne was followed in 2000 by an appointment as Chair of Mathematics at Lund University. During 2004 - 2008 Adrian Constantin held the "Erasmus Smith's Chair of Mathematics (1762)" at Trinity College (Dublin). In 2007 he was offered a professorship for Partial Differential Equations at the University of Vienna (starting in September 2008). The decision to move to Vienna (declining offers for full professor positions at Brown University and University of Karlsruhe) was strongly motivated by the strategy of the university leadership to prioritize high-level research.

Adrian Constantin's research interests focus on partial differential equations (PDEs). This is broad subject area of mathematics which links important strands of pure mathematics to applied mathematics. PDEs are ubiquitous in almost all applications of mathematics, providing in particular a mathematical description of many physical phenomena. The theory of water waves offers a paradigm for the approach. The endeavor is to use mathematics to describe and to investigate water waves, seeking a better understanding of natural phenomena like solitons or tsunamis that have attracted the attention of scientists, mathematicians and laymen for more than a century. The lack of explicit solutions and the complexity of the nonlinear processes often preclude the possibility of gaining insight by performing numerical and computational simulations. Instead one has to uncover structural properties, a process relying on a combination of analytical approaches with methods specific to algebra, geometry and/or topology. For example, in-depth aspects of the dynamics of solitons were discovered using an interplay of such diverse fields of mathematics as spectral theory, algebraic geometry and numerical analysis. PDEs are fascinating since major advances are usually contingent upon links to and inspiration from other fields of mathematics, taking also advantage of the natural interdependence between mathematical, physical and engineering aspects of the subject.

Adrian Constantin was awarded several research prizes ("Benedetto Sciarra" prize of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in 1994, "Göran Gustafsson" prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2005, "Friedrich Bessel" prize of the Humboldt foundation in 2007) and he is involved in international research networks. He organized several international workshops and conferences and has advised doctoral and postdoctoral researchers that are currently research active at various universities throughout the world. Currently he intends to build up a research group in Vienna.