The Clay Mathematics Institute has awarded Philip Isett, a mathematics faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin and Caltech, the Clay Research Award. Isett received the prestigious award jointly with two other mathematicians in recognition of their shared contributions to "the analysis of partial differential equations" that are relevant to a mathematical understanding of moving fluids.
The Clay Research Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the world's most gifted mathematicians.
Isett's work could have a wide range of applications, including weather modeling and designing aircraft and ships. He proved a 70-year old conjecture that describes the way some fluids, including water, behave when they experience turbulence. Examples of turbulence include the chaotic churning of water trailing a submarine or tumbling from a kitchen faucet. Isett's work focuses on a set of tools used to study turbulence, called the Euler equations.
"With a series of breakthroughs, Isett finally settled Onsager's 1949 Conjecture that, in turbulent regimes, below a specific regularity threshold, solutions to Euler's equations can be energy dissipative," according to the award citation.
"This series of work has a huge impact on the mathematical community of fluid mechanics," wrote Alexis Vasseur, professor of mathematics at UT Austin. "It is revolutionizing the field, questioning the classical notion of existence and uniqueness of solutions, and bringing completely new questions to the field linked to the notion of turbulence."
Isett earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 2013 and worked at MIT as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral scholar. He joined the faculty at UT Austin in 2017 and began a joint appointment at Caltech in 2018. Earlier this year, he won a Sloan Research Fellowship.
The Clay Mathematics Institute is a non-profit foundation dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. The institute is best known for establishing the Millennium Prize Problems in the year 2000.
This year's Clay Research Conference where the awards ceremony will be held will be at the University of Oxford from Sep. 29 to Oct. 4.