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Lecture series honors Nicolaenko’s contributions

September 27, 2007

Basil Nicolaenko, a professor of applied mathematics at ASU, died Sept. 1. He will be honored by family, friends and colleagues during a lecture series and reception in his memory Oct. 8 at ASU’s Tempe campus.

Nicolaenko earned a doctorate in mathematical physics from the University of Michigan and graduate degrees from the University of Paris, where he was a visiting professor in 2005.

Nicolaenko joined ASU’s faculty in 1988 to build up a new research program for the study of applied dynamics and chaos, and he was instrumental in the hiring of five new junior faculty for that program and played a leading role in its research success.

“He made long-lasting theoretical and numerical contributions to a variety of pure and applied mathematical problems,” says Dieter Armbruster, interim chair of ASU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Professor Nicolaenko devotedly trained a superb group of students and post-doctoral fellows.”

An original member of ASU’s environmental fluid dynamics program, Nicolaenko contributed to the rise of the EFD group greatly, says Harindra Joseph Fernando, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“He expanded the program’s vision to include high-performance computing and spearheaded the set up of the environmental fluid dynamics cluster in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering’s high-performance platform,” Fernando says.

More recently, in 2006, Nicolaenko was honored for his role in founding of the Center for Nonlinear Studies in Los Alamos, N.M., and his many important contributions to nonlinear science.

Because of his immense contributions to applied mathematics, ASU has created the Basil Nicolaenko Distinguished Nonlinear Studies Endowment, which will support a lecture series, scholarships and other programs in nonlinear studies. The inaugural lectures will take place at 3 p.m., Oct. 8, in the Carson Ballroom of Old Main on the Tempe campus. Speakers include Mac Hyman and Robert Ecke of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Alan Newell of the University of Arizona and ASU’s Fernando.

A memorial reception will follow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the University Club.

The endowment has been created in the ASU Foundation to recognize the important and long-lasting contributions Nicolaenko made to the community, to the study of nonlinear studies at ASU and to mathematics worldwide. Additional information is available in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at (480) 965-5438.