The 2023 ICIAM Maxwell Prize has been awarded to the Chinese mathematician Weinan E. The Prize - created with the joint support of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications - is one of the world's top awards in applied mathematics, aimed at recognising originality in the field.
The award is made every four years, to coincide with the four-yearly congress of ICIAM - the International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics - which this year will be in Tokyo in August.
Professor E's work has had an impact in areas including fluid dynamics, chemistry, material sciences, and soft condensed matter physics. He has carried out pioneering work in the application of machine learning, including the application of deep learning techniques to scientific computing.
He has a chair in the School of Mathematical Science at Princeton and also at Peking University.
Born in Jingjiang, China, in 1963, he took his undergraduate and master's degrees at Chinese universities and then a PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles.
He says that the advent of machine learning is transforming applied mathematics from a mass of techniques to a unified discipline. "In the history of science, there were two periods of time that made the most impact for applied mathematics. The first was the time of Newton, during which it was established that mathematics should be the language of science. The second was the time of von Neumann, during which it was proposed that numerical algorithms should be the main bridge between mathematics and science. Now the third time is at the horizon, a time when all the major components of applied math are in place, to form the foundation of not only interdisciplinary scientific research but also exciting technological innovation. This is truly an exciting time."
The first Maxwell Prize was awarded at the 1999 ICIAM congress in Edinburgh.
The JCM Foundation is a charity formed in Scotland in 1977. (Registered Charity SC015003)