Carnegie Mellon University
April 27, 2022

Mathematician Irene Fonseca Receives ISIMM Award

By Kirsten Heuring

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Irene Fonseca, Kavčić-Moura University Professor of Mathematics and director of the Center for Nonlinear Analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, has received the International Society for the Interaction of Mechanics and Mathematics Senior Prize.

“The ISIMM Senior Prize 2022 is awarded to Professor Irene Fonseca, Carnegie Mellon University, for her outstanding contributions to the calculus of variations and the mathematics of materials science, along with her exemplary service to the mathematical community and for being an inspirational mentor and role model for female mathematicians,” the organization said. 

The ISIMM prioritizes work that uses mathematics to enhance research in the physical world, such as physics or engineering, and it awards prizes to recognize outstanding scientists whose work is at the convergence of mechanics and mathematics.

“I’m honored,” said Fonseca. “It's a society that's very dear to me because it's exactly at the intersection of the areas where I work.”

Fonseca’s research is the calculus of variations and nonlinear partial differential equations. She develops mathematical tools that can be used to understand and predict the properties of smart materials for engineering, such as memory alloys and magnetic materials, and to improve computer vision by detexturing, denoising and colorizing images. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, and she often collaborates with physicists and engineers. 

“The advantage of working in these areas that intersect with neighboring disciplines is that you get a network of expertise around you that is very different from yours, and it guides you to problems that are relevant to the real world,” said Fonseca. 

The ISIMM Senior Prize is yet another accolade added to Fonseca’s long list. She is also a fellow of the European Academy of Sciences, the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. She has received a knighthood from the former president of Portugal for her work.