President of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Irene Fonseca, Mellon College of Science Professor of Mathematics, has been elected president of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, an international professional society for applied mathematicians. She served a one-year term as president-elect in 2012. On January 1, 2013 she began a two-year term as president.
The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), with more than 13,000 individual members and almost 500 institutional members, advances the application of mathematics and computational science to engineering, industry, science and society. Of SIAM's 35 presidents, Fonseca is only the second woman to hold this leadership role.
"Irene's election as the President of SIAM reaffirms what we have long known — that she is a leader in her field, whose abilities, vision and judgment will lead to continued success both for her and the organization," said William J. Hrusa, Acting Department Head and professor of Mathematical Sciences.
"Irene has a superb combination of organizational and scientific abilities," added David Kinderlehrer, the Alumni Professor of Mathematical Sciences and professor of materials science and engineering. "This election raises her visibility in the field of applied mathematics, in which she is already very prominent."
Fonseca is an internationally respected educator and researcher in applied mathematics. Her research involves the mathematical study of a variety of novel man-made materials, including ferroelectric, magnetic and magnetostrictive materials, shape memory alloys, composites and liquid crystals.
Her ability to introduce and apply new mathematical techniques to the materials sciences complements her work as director of the Center for Nonlinear Analysis (CNA) at Carnegie Mellon. The CNA focuses on research and training in applied mathematics at the interface between mathematics and the physical sciences and engineering; it is one of the few centers in the Unites States that receives significant federal funding for research in applied mathematics. Fonseca also directs the Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) project, a five-year National Science Foundation-funded multi-institution grant addressing issues in applied mathematics and mechanics that arise from the materials sciences.
Fonseca has a strong international presence in the mathematics community. She sits on committees and the boards of several major international universities and research centers. In 1997 she was bestowed knighthood in the Military Order of St. James (Grande Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant'Iago da Espada) by the president of Portugal. This order is generally reserved for accomplishments in cultural fields, but in Fonseca's case the award also recognized her contributions to scientific progress in the European Union. In 2004 she received a Women of Distinction Award in Math and Technology from the Western Pennsylvania Girl Scouts Trillium Council, and she was chosen to deliver the prestigious Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture at SIAM's Annual Meeting in 2006.