Farewell to Louis Nirenberg: an inspirational figure in mathematics

We bid farewell to the mathematician Louis Nirenberg who passed away this January at the age of 94. Nirenberg was acknowledged with many awards throughout his career, sharing the Abel Prize in 2015 with John Nash, “for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.”

Louis Nirenberg became one of the leading scientists of the 20th century by developing a deep understanding of nonlinear and linear partial differential equations. He was especially interested in a subset of them, the so called partial differential equations of elliptic type.

Nirenberg also believed that inequalities are often mathematically more meaningful and interesting than equations and identities. He once confessed: “I love inequalities.” Indeed, he solved many problems by proving that certain inequalities have to hold, and several inequalities bear Nirenberg’s name today.

Some of Nirenberg’s various accolades include the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy (1982), the National Medal of Science (1995), the Leroy P. Steele Prizes of the American Mathematical Society both for Lifetime Achievement (1994) and for Seminal Contribution to Research (2014), and the Chern Medal (2010).

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a foreign member of Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Académie des Sciences de Paris, Accademia Mediterranea delle Scienze, Istituto Lombardo Accademia Scienze e Lettere, and the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

The mathematical community has lost a truly remarkable person whose generosity and work will continue to have a profound influence.

A video portrait of Louis Nirenberg from 2017 on the HLF YouTube Channel gives an insight into the life and work of one of mathematics most inspirational figures.


Category: HLFF Forum