Mathematician receives lifetime achievement award

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Russian Academy of Science's Sobolev Institute of Mathematics has awarded its 2017 Gold Medal for distinguished impact in mathematics to Mikhail Klibanov, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UNC Charlotte. This award is considered a lifetime achievement award in the field of mathematics.

 “I am greatly honored to be recognized with this award,” Klibanov said. “To be recognized in this way is humbling. My heart is full.”

Klibanov joined the faculty at UNC Charlotte in 1990, after serving as an associate professor for the Department of Mathematics at the Samara State University in Samara, Russia, from 1977 to 1990.

“This award is an important recognition of Dr. Klibanov’s work,” said Yuanan Diao, chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “This medal recognizes his work throughout his career, including the solutions he has discovered to crucial mathematical problems and also the contributions he has made over the years to sharing his solutions through extensive publishing, which has helped others in their research.”

Klibanov has solved 10 different long-standing important problems in the field of “Inverse Problems for Partial Differential Equations,” including the development of globally convergent numerical methods for coefficient inverse problems, uniqueness of "Phase Problems in Optics," and uniqueness theorems and reconstruction methods for "3-D Inverse Scattering Problems" without the phase information.

His research topics include inverse problems arising in microwaves and nanoscience. His work in the complex and difficult field of inverse problems began in 1973, when he was a graduate student. He has continued that research as a professor, with funding from the U.S. Army Research Office in reference to the detection and identification of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other funding comes from the Office of Naval Research to support research into the phase reconstruction problem. Klibanov's algorithm regarding globally convergent numerical methods for coefficient inverse problems holds implications for determining the materials in potentially explosive devices, such as IEDs.

The Sobolev Institute of Mathematics in Novosibirsk includes about 500 researchers who conduct fundamental investigations in mathematics, mathematical physics and informatics.

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Photo by Lynn Roberson