Paco Lagerstrom

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Paco Axel Lagerstrom
Born February 24, 1914
Oskarshamn, Sweden
Died February 16, 1989 (1989-02-17) (aged 74)[1]
Pasadena, California
Residence United States
Alma mater Princeton University, PhD 1942
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship[1]
Scientific career
Fields Asymptotic expansion
Fluid mechanics
Institutions Caltech
Thesis Measure and Integral in Partially Ordered Spaces (1942)
Doctoral advisor Salomon Bochner[2]
Doctoral students Julian Cole
Athanassios S. Fokas
Milton Van Dyke

Paco Axel Lagerstrom (February 24, 1914 – February 16, 1989) was an applied mathematician and aeronautical engineer. He was trained formally in mathematics, but worked for much of his career in aeronautical applications. He is known for pioneering work in applying the method of asymptotic expansion to fluid mechanics problems.[3] Several of his works have become classics, including "Matched Asymptotic Expansions: Ideas And Techniques".[4]


He was born on February 24, 1914 in Oskarshamn, Sweden.

Lagerstrom earned bachelor's and master's degrees, 1935 and 1939 respectively, at the University of Stockholm.[1] He then came to America as a graduate student at Princeton University, earning a PhD in 1942 in mathematics under Salomon Bochner[2] with a dissertation entitled "Measure and Integral in Partially Ordered Spaces". During this time, Lagerstrom was also a mathematics instructor.

He left Princeton in 1944 to work briefly at Bell Aircraft in Niagara Falls, New York until 1945,[1] after which he worked for a similarly brief period at Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica.[5] While he had already published significant results in pure mathematics,[6][7] he was, by this time, firmly interested in its applications to fluid dynamic and aerodynamic problems. In 1946, Lagerstrom was recruited by Hans Liepmann to the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory at Caltech.[5] He was later promoted to Professor of Aeronautics in 1952 and Professor of Applied Mathematics in 1967,[5] having departed only briefly to the University of Paris in 1960-1961 as visiting professor on a Guggenheim Fellowship.[1]

He died on February 16, 1989.


  1. ^ a b c d e Princeton Alumni Weekly, April 3, 1991.
  2. ^ a b Paco Lagerstrom at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Narasimha, R. (2004) Divide, conquer and unify, Nature 432(7019), 807.
  4. ^ Lagerstrom, P. A. (1988) Matched Asymptotic Expansions: Ideas And Techniques, Springer.
  5. ^ a b c GALCIT: The First 75 Years.
  6. ^ McMillan, B. and Lagerstrom, P. (1945) Extension of a theorem of Bochner on expressing functionals as Riemann integrals, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 51, 251-258.
  7. ^ Lagerstrom, P. (1945) A proof of a theorem on commutative matrices, Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 51, 535-536.

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