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MIT announces Professor Gilbert Strang as first MathWorks Professor of Mathematics

Endowment underscores value commercial industry places on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education
Gilbert Strang, the MathWorks Professor of Mathematics
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Gilbert Strang, the MathWorks Professor of Mathematics
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Photo: Donna Coveney

The MIT Department of Mathematics today announced the appointment of Professor Gilbert Strang as its first MathWorks Professor of Mathematics. This endowed professorship was made possible by MathWorks, developer of MATLAB and Simulink — mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists.  

“Big challenges are awaiting our students after graduation, from designing alternative energy sources to finding the next penicillin. Academia and industry must work together to ensure our future workforce is prepared to meet these challenges. Gifts such as the MathWorks chair help foster an environment in which foundational knowledge is coupled with challenging real-world applications to encourage future innovations,” said Chancellor Eric Grimson.

The MathWorks Professorship is the latest milestone in a more than 25-year relationship between the organizations that began when MIT became the first MathWorks customer, purchasing 10 copies of MATLAB in 1985. Since then, the two have collaborated through MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) as well as its Independent Activities Period (IAP) programs. MathWorks also works with MIT through its participation in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) university student competition. In 2010, MIT adopted MATLAB and Simulink across its campus, enabling Institute students, researchers and faculty to access the tools from any school computer.

Strang’s research focuses on mathematical analysis, linear algebra and PDEs. His service to the academic community is extensive and he has received distinctions for his research, service and teaching; including: the Chauvenet Prize, 1976; the Award for Distinguished Service, SIAM, 2003; the Graduate School Teaching Award, MIT, 2003; the Von Neumann Prize Medal of U.S. Assoc for Computational Mechanics, 2005; the Lester R. Ford Prize, MAA, 2005; the Franklin and Deborah Tepper Haimo Prize, MAA, 2006; and the Su Buchin Prize of the International Congress of Industrial & Applied Mathematics, 2007. Strang is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He came to MIT upon completing the PhD from UCLA in 1959. He received an SB from MIT in 1955, and the BA and MA as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in 1957. He joined the MIT mathematics faculty in 1962, professor in 1970.

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