Peter Lax

Peter David Lax

Born May 1, 1926 (1926-05-01) (age 81)
Budapest, Hungary
Fields Mathematics
Notable awards National Medal of Science (1986) Wolf Prize (1987)
Abel Prize (2005)
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.
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. 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.