Mary Wheeler

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For the founder of the Wheeler School, see Mary C. Wheeler.
Mary Fanett Wheeler
Born (1938-12-28) December 28, 1938 (age 78)
Cuero, Texas
Fields Numerical Analysis
Partial Differential Equations
Institutions Rice University
University of Houston
University of Texas
Alma mater University of Texas(BS, BA, MA)
Rice University(PhD)
Thesis A Priori L2 Error Estimates for Galerkin Approximations to Parabolic Partial Differential Equations (1971)
Doctoral advisor Henry H. Rachford, Jr.
Jim Douglas, Jr.
Doctoral students Carol S. Woodward

Mary Fanett Wheeler (born December 28, 1938)[1] is an American mathematician. She is known for her work on numerical methods for partial differential equations, including domain decomposition methods. In 2009 she was awarded the Theodore von Kármán Prize by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).[2]

Personal background[edit]

Mary Fanett Wheeler was born on December 28, 1938, in Cuero, Texas.[1] She earned a double major in social sciences and mathematics from the University of Texas in 1960, and a Masters degree in 1963.[1] She did her masters thesis on the Peaceman-Rachford method, and later went on to do her Ph.D. under Rachford at Rice University in 1971.[3]

Professional background[edit]

Wheeler studies finite element analysis and porous media problems with applications in engineering, oil-field exploitation, and the cleaning up of environmental pollution.[3] Her early work consisted of fundamental contributions to finite element methods and numerical analysis.[3] She then moved into porous media problems, using her numerical expertise to study problems in the oil industry such as managing oil-field extraction.[3] She also studies environmental problems such as cleaning up underground reservoirs, spills of toxic waste, and carbon dioxide sequestration.[3] In addition, Wheeler has worked with the United States Army Corps of Engineers on environmental impact in the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Florida Bay.[3]

On the matter of pure versus applied math, Wheeler has been noted to say "To me it is important to see your work used. I do abstract things as well, and I don't know if I will live to see them applied."[3]

Wheeler worked at the Rice University from 1971 to 1995, with a two-year hiatus at University of Houston from 1988-90.[3] In 1995 she moved to the University of Texas at Austin where she serves as the director of the Center for Subsurface Modeling at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences.[4] She is a Professional Engineer registered with the State of Texas, 1999.[5] In 1989, she gave the prestigious Noether Lecture for the Association for Women in Mathematics in Phoenix, Arizona.[6] Her talk was titled "Large Scale Modeling of Problems Arising in Flow in Porous Media".[6]




  1. ^ a b c Riddle, Larry. "Mary F. Wheeler". Biographies of Women Mathematicians. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "UT Austin professor honored with prestigious mathematics award". Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. 30 June 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Murphy, John (March–April 2003). "Playing the numbers game". Scientific Computing World. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "Mary Fanett Wheeler". The Institute for Computational Science and Engineering. The University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  5. ^ Wheeler, Mary. "Resume". Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Mary F. Wheeler - Large Scale Modeling of Problems Arising in Flow in Porous Media - Phoenix, Arizona 1989". Profiles of Women in Mathematics: The Emmy Noether Lectures. Association for Women in Mathematics. 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 

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