2021 Lecturer: Vivette Girault 

From linear poroelasticity to nonlinear implicit elastic and related models


Poroelasticity has many applications in energy and environmental engineering. When linear, it
simulates the transient flow of a single-phase fluid in a deformable linear elastic porous medium.
However, when the medium is brittle and fractured, linear elasticity is not applicable, but new
nonlinear implicit models lead to a good description of the phenomenon. I shall introduce the
simplest model of poroelasticity, then describe some new models and explain their mathematical
and numerical issues.

Collaborators: Tameem Almani, Andrea Bonito, Saumik Dana, Benjamin Ganis, María González
Taboada, Diane Guignard, Frédéric Hecht, Kundan Kumar, Xueying Lu, Marc Mear, Kumbakonam
Rajagopal, Gurpreet Singh, Endre Süli, Mary Wheeler.


Vivette Girault, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris, France, is an outstanding numerical analyst with a long and distinguished career, who continues to have both deep and broad impact on computational science. Her work in finite element methods, computational fluid dynamics and mechanics is widely known and has been highly cited. The letters in support of this nomination suggest that what sets Professor Girault apart from others is her “uncompromising attitude towards making sure that she fully understands the underlying physics of the problems she works on”, and this assessment explains her broad influence within as well as outside numerical analysis. Professor Girault has also been a fantastic mentor and role model for many junior mathematicians, being “quick-witted, rigorous, and excellent, with a radiant and humble personality”.


Girault was born in Nice, France, she attended high school in Caracas, Venezuela, and received her undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She then returned to France to study numerical analysis and was appointed Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Université de Paris (renamed the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), and now known as Sorbonne Université). Except for two years spent at the University of Houston (Texas), Girault’s career was spent at UPMC.

Since retiring from UPMC in 2008, Girault has held visiting positions at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, and Rice University. With the close connection to Texas, Girault’s research that was originally on the theory and discretization of Navier-Stokes equations, veered mostly to the theory and numerics of problems of complex fluids, problems of poroelasticity, and now fascinating problems of nonlinear implicit models introduced by K.R. Rajagopal.