American Mathematical Society honors Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics

Harold Widom, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will share the 2007 Norbert Wiener Prize in Applied Mathematics with UC Davis professor of mathematics Craig Tracy.

Presented every three years by the American Mathematical Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Wiener Prize is awarded for outstanding contributions to applied mathematics in the highest and broadest sense. The prize was awarded on January 6 at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in New Orleans.

The prize citation states that "Craig Tracy and Harold Widom have done deep and original work on Random Matrix Theory, a subject which has remarkable applications across the scientific spectrum, from the scattering of neutrons off large nuclei to the behavior of the zeros of the Riemann zeta-function."

Widom and Tracy's widely acclaimed work has had a profound influence in various areas of mathematics. They have discovered a new class of distribution functions, called Tracy-Widom distributions, that arise in many different situations.

The Wiener Prize, which includes a $5,000 cash award, was established in 1967 in honor of Professor Norbert Wiener and was endowed by a fund from the Department of Mathematics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.