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Professor Jonathan Borwein passed away at 65


With deep sadness we report that our colleague Jonathan Borwein, Laureate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Newcastle, Australia, passed away on August 2, 2016 at the age of 65. Professor Borwein was a foreign member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and a dear friend of the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He has been closely related to the Bulgarian mathematical community by collaborative work with several Bulgarian mathematicians, by hosting Bulgarian scientists and participation in projects and scientific events involving the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics and the Union of Bulgarian Mathematicians. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Proceedings of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences Comptes rendus de l'academie Bulgare des sciences.


Jon was born in St. Andrews, Scotland in 1951. He received his B.A. from University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1971, and his PhD from Oxford University in 1974 as a Rhodes Scholar at Jesus College. His professional career includes work at Dalhousie University (1974–91), Carnegie-Mellon (1980–82), the University of Waterloo (1991–93) and Simon Fraser University (starting 1993). The list of his awards includes the Chauvenet Prize (1993), Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (1994), Fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2002). He is Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Limoges, France (1999), and he is a foreign member in of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (2003). He was elected as a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Science (2010). In 2014, he became a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
Jon’s scientific heritage covers a remarkably broad spectrum of topics from the pure and applied mathematics. His contributions to Functional Analysis, Geometry of Banach Spaces, Optimization Theory, Variational Analysis, Special Functions, Computer Science reveal an impressive and deep understanding of the very core of mathematics, as well as a fine intuition how to pose and solve difficult mathematical problems. Equally deep and comprehensive was his awareness for the role of mathematics and its applications for the future development of our civilization. He was one of the pioneers and strong promoters of the Experimental Mathematics which has already opened exciting new avenues for development of science in general, not only mathematics.

According to latest data he has published 388 journal articles, 103 articles in refereed or invited conference proceedings and he has 6 593 citations of his works, making him a highly ISI cited mathematician in the period 1981-1989. He has several dozens of PhD and post-doctoral students. He was a great communicator of science, in general, and of mathematics, in particular. He authored quite a number of publications intended for a larger audience where he shared his scientific knowledge and/or his views on contemporary scientific policy.

Jon served the global mathematical community with devotion and great energy: Governor at large of the Mathematical Association of America (2004–07), President of the Canadian Mathematical Society (2000–02), Chair of the Canadian National Science Library Advisory Board (2000–2003) and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI), Chair of the Committee on Electronic Information and Communication (CEIC) of the International Mathematical Union (2007 – 2010) and this is by far a non-exhausting list.

Jon’s passing is an incredible loss for all the mathematical community, for the large network of his friends and colleagues. Our deepest condolences go also to his respected family - the wife Judi, their three daughters, Rachel, Naomi and Tova, his parents Bessie and David Borwein, grandchildren Jakob Joseph, Noah Erasmus, Skye, Zoe and Taj, sibling Sarah and Peter and sister-in-law Jennifer Moore.

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