Michel Thera’s introduction for the Paris Jon Borwein Memorial Conference

Welcome everybody to this remembrance day devoted to Laureate Professor Jonathan Michael Borwein.

When I decided to organize this one day workshop, I had immediately the encouragements of Fatiha Alabau, president of SMAI, from Stephane Seuret, president of SMF, from Kate Smith-Smiles president of the Australian Mathe- matical Society, from Mike Bennett president of the Canadian Mathematical Society and from Matthiew Davison president of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematical Society.

They all pass on their appreciation to all participants who are helping to honor Jon Borwein in this special way.

I would like to express my gratitude to these mathematical societies for their sponsorship and for helping to the dissemination of the information about this day.

I would also thank the Foundation Jacques Hadamard and the Program Gaspard Monge for Optimization; especially Sandrine Charousset and Stephane Gaubert.
I would also include CNRS and GDR MOA; especially Didier Aussel and Samir Adly.

The support of PGMO and GdR MOA is very important because it has allowed to support the speakers while in Paris. Also their help to circulate the information and encourage the optimization community to consider attending has been crucial.

I would like to thank CARMA in Newcastle and specifically David Allingham whose help in the construction and the maintenance of the website was for me very useful.

Finally, I’d like to thank all the speakers who have accepted to come to Paris to give a testimony related to the different scientific or academic activities on which Jon was involved. Some of you have travelled from United States, Israel, Spain and Germany and unfortunately with no support for your travel.

Many thanks also from those attending this day and also sometimes coming from abroad, just for this occasion to acknowledge Jon’s impact and seminal contributions to mathematics and in particular to optimization.

I would say that many things have been written on Jon, particularly in the memorial website organized by David Bailey. Many events have been already organized to honor his memory:

  • Special session at the 60th Annual Meeting of the Australian mathematical Society in Camberra organized by Regina Burachik, Jeya Jeyakumar and Guyoyin Li;
  • 23rd Conference on Applications of Computer Algebra in Jerusalem orga- nized by Ilias Kotsireas and Thierry Noah Dana-Picard;
  • A special session at the Canadian Mathematical Society meeting organized by Henry Wolkowicz and Heinz Bauschke;
  • The Midwest Optimization meeting organized at Michigan State Univer- sity.
    Probably many other meetings will appear in the future.

Any of you knew Jon as an internationally acclaimed mathematician. He was one of the world’s leading scholars in Experimental Mathematics,in Optimiza- tion Theory, in Applied Nonlinear Functional Analysis, in algorithmic number theory. His long publication list spanned the breadth of pure and applied ma- thematics.He has been cited over 22,000 times (according to Google Scholar).
As Shakespeare suggests, brevity is indeed the soul of wit. Also, a conclusion I would like to add two thoughts about Jon:

The first one has been sent to me by Scott Lindstrom, who was the last student to start a PhD with Jon:

When Jon became excited about something I did or discovered, I felt big. I felt big because Jon was big, but I also felt big because Jon — in his uniquely uninhibited fashion — gave me permission to feel that way. I am grateful that Jon gave to me — and to so many others – the chance to feel big.

The second one is personal:

Jon, you have inspired me over the years since 1978 when I first met you in Montreal.

Dear Jon, I am the one, and many of us also in our community, of those fortunate people who had the opportunity to meet you, to work with you and to appreciate you.

Today, we all miss you very, very much. Thank you!

Message from Fatiha Alabau, President of SMAI:

The French learned society SMAI would like to express its profound admiration for the work and the scientific personality of Jonathan Michael Borwein and would also like his family to be assured that the thoughts of the applied mathematical French community are with her on this particular day.

A message from all of us in Newcastle who, while a hemisphere away, are united with you in paying tribute to our friend and colleague Jonathan M. Borwein:

Jon first visited Australia, and the University of Newcastle in particular, in the mid 80’s; the first of numerous short and mid term visits. So he was no stranger to us when in January 2008 he, together with his wonderful wife Judi, two of his three daughters; Naomi and Tova, and grandson Jacob, moved to Newcastle to become Laureate Professor of Mathematics. Jon’s impact on ma- thematics at Newcastle and more generally Australia was both immediate and profound. Within months he had established the Priority Research Centre for Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Application (CARMA) and actively engaged with the Australian mathematical community assuming various roles in the Australian Mathematical Society, Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute and soon as an elected member of the Australian Academy of Sciences. Jon was a unique and amazing colleague. His personality and love of scholarship were infectious, and equalled only by his enjoyment of good company and a good debate. His sense of fairness and the easy generosity with which he shared his great knowledge, insightfulness and creativity made Jon an outstanding mentor and the best and most natural of collaborators. And, for many of us a close and much valued friend. We thank you all for the honour you bestowing on Jon to- day. It is a day of profound sadness, but also a celebration of the great privilege of having known and in so many cases worked with him. Jon has left us with an indelible legacy, but also a great void. We miss him more and more with every passing day.

Comments are closed.