Peter Lax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is an old revision of this page, as edited by Mathias-S (talk | contribs) at 21:17, 16 December 2008 (Interwiki +no). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this revision, which may differ significantly from the current revision.

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Peter David Lax
Peter Lax in Tokyo.jpg
Born (1926-05-01) May 1, 1926 (age 93)
NationalityUnited States American
Alma materCourant Institute
Known forLax–Wendroff method
Lax equivalence theorem
Babuška-Lax-Milgram theorem
Lax pairs
AwardsNational Medal of Science (1986)

Wolf Prize (1987)

Norbert Wiener Prize (2000)

Abel Prize (2005)

Scientific career
InstitutionsCourant Institute
Doctoral advisorK. O. Friedrichs
Doctoral studentsAlexandre Chorin, Ami Harten

Peter David Lax (born May 1, 1926 in Budapest, Hungary) is a mathematician working in the areas of pure and applied mathematics. He has made important contributions to integrable systems, fluid dynamics and shock waves, solitonic physics, hyperbolic conservation laws, and mathematical and scientific computing, among other fields.

In a 1958 paper Lax stated a conjecture about matrix representations for third order hyperbolic polynomials which remained unproven for over four decades. Interest in the "Lax conjecture" grew as mathematicians working in several different areas recognized the importance of its implications in their field, until it was finally proven to be true in 2003 [1].

Lax was born in Budapest, Hungary, and moved with his parents (Klara Kornfield and Henry Lax) to New York City in 1941, where he studied at Stuyvesant High School.[2] In 1948 he married Anneli Cahn, who also was on her way to becoming a career mathematician.

Lax holds a faculty position in the Department of Mathematics, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1986, the Wolf Prize in 1987 and the Abel Prize in 2005.

He is an alumnus of New York University, where he received both his bachelor's degree in 1947 and his Ph.D. in 1949 with thesis advisor Kurt O. Friedrichs.


  • P. D. Lax, Functional Analysis, Wiley-Interscience, New York (2002).
  • P. D. Lax, Linear Algebra and Its Applications, 2nd ed., Wiley-Interscience, New York (2007).
  • P. D. Lax, Hyperbolic Partial Differential Equations, American Mathematical Society/Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences (2006).
  • P. D. Lax and R. S. Phillips, Scattering Theory, Academic Press (1989).
  • P. D. Lax, Hyperbolic Systems of Conservation Laws and the Mathematical Theory of Shock Waves, Society for Industrial Mathematics (1987).
  • J. Glimm and P. D. Lax, Decay of Solutions of Systems of Nonlinear Hyperbolic Conservation Laws, American Mathematical Society (1970).
  • G. Boillat, C. M. Dafermos, P. D. Lax, T.-P. Liu, and T. Ruggeri, Recent Mathematical Methods in Nonlinear Wave Propagation, Springer (1996).
  • P. D. Lax and R. S. Phillips, Scattering Theory for Automorphic Functions Princeton Univ. Press (2001).
  • P. D. Lax, S. Burnstein, and A. Lax, Calculus with Applications and Computing, Springer-Verlag, New York (1979).
  • Recent Advances in Partial Differential Equations
  • Mathematical Aspects of Production and Distribution of Energy
  • Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations in Applied Science

See also

External links

  • Peter Lax at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  • O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Peter Lax", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
  • Elements from his contributions to mathematics. Popularised presentation of Peter Lax by Helge Holden, published on the Abel Prize website.
  • Abel Prize press release and biography
  • NY Times Interview 3 29 05
  • Raussen, Martin (2006). "Interview with Peter D. Lax" (PDF). Notices of the American Mathematical Society. 53 (2): pp.223–229. Retrieved 2008-01-16. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)CS1 maint: extra text (link)


  1. ^ A.S. Lewis (2003-04-18). "The Lax conjecture is true". Optimization Online. Retrieved 2007-10-31. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ Dreifus, Claudia (2005-03-29). "A Conversation with Peter Lax - From Budapest to Los Alamos, a Life in Mathematics". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-31.