Awards Ceremony for the 2016 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize
Winners of the 2016 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize were announced on 19th April 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, during the RISE conference. They are Professor Omar El-Fallah of Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco and Professor Edward Lungu of the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Palapye, Botswana. The awards ceremony was held on 5th July 2016, at 5.00pm, at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, New Jersey, USA. In attendance were faculty, staff and friends of the Institute for Advanced Study as well as friends and relatives of the awardees. For each awardee the prize, consisting of a certificate and USD 6,000.00 was handed out by Professor Phillip Griffiths witnessed by Professor Herb Clemens of the Ohio State University and Chair of the AMMSI Awards Committee and Professor Wandera Ogana, of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, and Secretary/Executive Director of AMMSI. Subsequently there was a brief question-and-answer session where the audience who sought to know how the awardees were motivated to learn mathematics and their views on what steps can be taken to strengthen mathematics in Africa.
Professor Phillip Griffiths also read the certificates and citations for the awardees, as follows.
PROFESSOR OMAR EL-FALLAH
The 2016 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize awarded to Professor Omar El-Fallahfor outstanding contribution to mathematics in the areas of Banach algebras, reflexivity of operators and Dirichlet spaces, and for his role in educating and mentoring the next generation of African mathematicians.
OMAR EL-FALLAH graduated from Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco, and received his PhD from the University of Bordeaux, France, in 1992 in Analysis. Since 2002, he has been a full Professor at the Faculty of Sciences at Mohammed V University, where he is also the Director of the Laboratory of Analysis and Application, a member of the scientific committee of the Faculty. In addition, he serves as an expert for Morocco’s National Centre for Scientific and Technological Research.
Professor El Fallah has supervised several PhD students, has chaired or co-chaired national and international projects, and has organized numerous mathematical events. He has lectured broadly in Morocco and internationally. His book A Primer on the Dirichlet Space was published in 2014, and his papers have appeared in highly regarded international journals.
His research activity focused on several directions in Operator Theory and Functions Theory, among them the uniqueness of analytic functions in connection with polynomial approximation (cyclicity). He obtained significant results, improving earlier results obtained by Beurling, Carleson, Nikolski and Shapiro. He investigated a question of Hedelmaln-Shields concerning Bergman-Smirnov exceptional sets, and succeeded with K. Kellay and T. Ransford, to give the first examples of perfect sets which are Bergmann-Smirnov exceptional sets. He also proved that every Cantor sets with zero logarithmic capacity is a Bergman-Smirnov exceptional set. Concerning the conjecture of Brown-Shields, El Fallah, with his collaborators, proved that Brown-Shields conjecture holds for weights associated to a measure with countable support. A recent focus of his attention is spectral theory of bounded operators. He has obtained numerous results on the asymptotic behavior of singular values of compact composition operators with univalent symbol in terms of the geometry of the range of the symbol.
PROFESSOR EDWARD M. LUNGU
The 2016 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize awarded to Professor Edward M. Lungu for outstanding contribution to mathematics in the area of mathematical modeling for hydrology, ecology, and epidemiology, with an emphasis on understanding the progression of HIV/AIDS and the treatment of those who have the disease; and for his role in educating and mentoring the next generation of African mathematicians.
EDWARD LUNGU graduated from the University of Zambia in 1975 and received his PhD from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, in 1981. After several years on the faculty of the University of Zambia, he spent almost 30 years at the University of Botswana, where he rose through the ranks to become a full professor. A year ago he was appointed Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Botswana University of Science and Technology.
Professor Lungu works in the area of mathematical modeling for hydrology, ecology, and epidemiology, with an emphasis on understanding the progression of HIV/AIDS. He has developed curricula in mathematical modeling and mathematical biology, and courses in epidemiological modeling and ecological modeling, benefiting hundreds of students throughout southern Africa. In addition, he has supervised numerous PhD and MSc students.
With Professor Fred Roberts of Rutgers, Professor Lungu initiated the DIMACS US-Africa program, which brought together African and American PhD students. That program accomplished its goal of increasing research output within Africa, and was later replaced by the current and equally successful MASAMU/SAMSA project.
Several international organizations have honored Professor Lungu for his work. In 2011 he was awarded the ICIAM Su Buchin Prize in 2011 for “his mathematical modelling of problems related to Africa and his fundamental contribution to developing teaching, research and organizational structures for applied mathematics in Southern Africa.” He led a group based at the University of Botswana that won a five-year, $400,000 grant from the Simons Foundation in 2013 to run a postgraduate training program for students at the Universities of Botswana, Namibia, Kwazulu Natal, Addis Ababa, and Stellenbosch. Professor Lungu also serves on the Advisory Board for the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).