For his pioneering work in partial differential equations and continuum physics, Constantine Dafermos has been awarded the 2016 Norbert Wiener Prize by the American Mathematical Society.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Constantine M. Dafermos, the Alumni-Alumnae University Professor of Applied Mathematics at Brown, will receive the 2016 Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics. Presented by the American Mathematical Society (AMS) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the prize honors “research in applied mathematics, in its highest and broadest sense.”

Dafermos will be honored for “his foundational work in partial differential equations and continuum physics,” according to the society. He will formally receive the prize, which is presented every three years, next month at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Seattle.

“It is an honor which I am sharing with scores of teachers, colleagues, and students who have provided invaluable support and inspiration over the years,” said Dafermos, who has been a member of the Brown faculty since 1971.

Dafermos works on the interface between continuum mechanics and the theory of partial differential equations. He has distinguished himself as one of the world’s top experts in the theory of conservation laws. These fundamental laws express in mathematical terms the fact that, within an isolated physical system, certain quantities do not change when time passes or when the position of the system is changed. Examples include conservation of energy and of momentum. Dafermos has also made seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear conservation laws, introducing innovative and powerful new methods and applying the theory to such areas as continuum mechanics, gas dynamics, and nonlinear elasticity.

He is widely known for his book Hyperbolic Conservation Laws in Continuum Physics (Springer Verlag, third edition, 2010), which is considered to be the authoritative guide to the subject.

In addition to several honorary degrees, Dafermos has received the SIAM W.T. and Idalia Reid Prize (2000), the Cataldo e Angiola Agostinelli Prize of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (2011), the Galileo Medal of the City of Padua (2012), and the Prize of the International Society for the Interaction of Mechanics and Mathematics (2014). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of SIAM, and a fellow of the AMS (2013).