Sonia Kovalevsky Lectures

Sonia Kovalevsky (1850-1891) was the most widely known Russian mathematician of the late 19th century. In 1874, she received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Gottingen and was appointed lecturer at the University of Stockholm in 1883. Kovalevsky did her most important work in the theory of differential equations.

AWM and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) established the annual Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture to highlight significant contributions of women to applied or computational mathematics. This lecture is given annually at the SIAM Annual Meeting. The AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture was first given on June 20, 2003, at the SIAM/CAIMS/SCMAI meeting in Montréal.

The 2024 Sofia Kovalevsky Lecture will be given by Sunčica Čanić, University of California at Berkeley

black and white photo of Sofia Kovalevsky
Sofia Kovaleskaya

Nomination Period: August 1 – September 15

Nomination Location: All nominations can be made at To locate the nomination form in MathPrograms, click on  “View Programs” at the top right of the page. Scroll down to the programs listed for “Association for Women in Mathematics” and click “Nominate” next to the AWM-SIAM Sonia Kovalevsky Lecture.

Nominator:  Any person can be a nominator! People of any gender can be a nominator, self nominations are allowed, and you do not need to be an AWM member to nominate someone for this award. If this is a self-nomination, then you must have one additional letter of support.

Nomination Packet: A nomination packet should include:

  • An outline of the nominee’s contributions to applied or computational mathematics;
  • A list of some of her most important research papers;
  • A citation of about 100 words that may be read when introducing the speaker;
  • A curriculum vitae of the candidate not to exceed three pages.

All submitted materials become the property of the AWM.

Award Criteria: This lecture will be awarded annually to anyone in the scientific or engineering community whose work highlights the achievements of women in applied or computational mathematics.

Nominee Requirements. The award is open to all regardless of nationality and citizenship. Nominees must be living at the time of their nomination. Any person can be a nominator! People of any gender can be a nominator, self nominations are allowed, and you do not need to be an AWM member to nominate someone for this award. Nominations of women from underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged. 

Presentation of Award. The lecture will be presented at the Annual SIAM Meeting each year. In some years when the SIAM meeting is international, the lecture will be given either at an appropriate domestic SIAM meeting or at the International Congress on Industrial and Applied Mathematicians (ICIAM).  The recipient will receive a $2000 prize, honorary certificate, and will be featured in an article in the AWM Newsletter.

At the request of the nominator, nominations can remain active for one additional year, and the nominator can update the application materials.

2024  Sunčica Čanić, University of California at Berkeley,  
2023  Annalisa Buffa, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), “Simulation of PDEs on Geometries Obtained via Boolean Operations”
2022  Anne Greenbaum, University of Washington, “Two of my Favorite Problems”
2021  Vivette Girault, Sorbonne Université, “From linear poroelasticity to nonlinear implicit elastic and related models”

2020  Bonnie Berger, MIT, “Compressive genomics: leveraging the geometry of biological data”
2019   Catherine Sulem, University of Toronto, “The Dynamics of Ocean Waves”
2018   Eva Tardos, Cornell University, “Learning and Efficiency of Outcomes in Games”
2017   Liliana Borcea, University of Michigan, “Mitigating Uncertainty in Inverse Wave Scattering”
2016   Lisa J. Fauci, Tulane University, “Biofluids of Reproduction: Oscillators, Viscoelastic Networks and Sticky Situations”
2015   Linda J. S. Allen, Texas Tech University, “Predicting Population Extinction”
2014   Irene M. Gamba, University of Texas at Austin, “The evolution of complex interactions in non-linear kinetic systems”
2013   Margaret Cheney, Colorado State University, “Introduction to Radar Imaging”
2012   Barbara Keyfitz, Ohio State University, “The Role of Characteristics in Conservation Laws”
2011   Susanne C. Brenner, Louisiana State University, “A Cautionary Tale in Numerical PDEs”
2010   Suzanne Lenhart, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, “Mixing it up: Discrete and Continuous Optimal Control for Biological Models”
2009   Andrea Bertozzi, University of California, Los Angeles
2008   Dianne P. O’Leary, University of Maryland, “A Noisy Adiabatic Theorem: Wilkinson Meets Schrödinger’s Cat”
2007   Lai-Sang Young, Courant Institute, “Shear-Induced Chaos”
2006   Irene Fonseca, Carnegie Mellon University, “New Challenges in the Calculus of Variations”
2005   Ingrid Daubechies, Princeton University, “Superfast and (Super)sparse Algorithms”
2004   Joyce R. McLaughlin, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “Interior Elastodynamics Inverse Problems: Creating Shear Wave Speed Images of Tissue”
2003   Linda R. Petzold, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Towards the Multiscale Simulation of Biochemical Networks”

Questions? Call 401-455-4042 or email