Deift was born in Durban, South Africa, where he obtained degrees in chemical engineering, physics, and mathematics, and he received a Ph.D. in mathematical physics from Princeton University in 1977. He is a Silver Professor at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.
Deift is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society (elected 2012)., a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (elected 2003), and of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (elected 2009).
He is a co-winner of the 1998 Pólya Prize, and was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 1999. He gave an invited address at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Berlin in 1998 and plenary addresses in 2006 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Madrid and at the International Congress on Mathematical Physics in Rio de Janeiro. Deift gave the Gibbs Lecture at the Joint Meeting of the American Mathematical Society in 2009.
- Biographies of Candidates 2001. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 48 (20010, no. 8
- List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2012-11-10.
- Courant’s Percy Deift Elected to National Academy of Sciences, NYU Today, vol. 22 (2009), no. 11. Accessed January 13, 2010.
- Mathematics People, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 56 (2009), no. 7, p. 844
- SIAM Awards Pólya Prize, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, vo. 45 (1998), no. 10, p. 1363
- Fellows list, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Accessed January 13, 2010.
- Professor Percy Deift, Integrable Systems, Rigorous Asymptotics and Applications Workshop, August 22–23, 2004, University of Melbourne. Accessed January 13, 2010
- Percy Deift personal webpage, Courant Institute, New York University
- Percy Alec Deift, Mathematics Genealogy Project
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