Providence, RI---On January 5, 2012, the American Mathematical Society will award several major prizes at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston. The AMS prizes are among the world's most important honors given for outstanding contributions to mathematics.

Included are two prizes that are given jointly with two other mathematics organizations, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), as well as one award given by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM).

AMS Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement: IVO M. BABUSKA, University of Texas at Austin, for his many pioneering advances in the numerical solution of partial differential equations over the last half century.

AMS Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition: MICHAEL ASCHBACHER, California Institute of Technology; RICHARD LYONS, Rutgers University; STEPHEN SMITH, University of Illinois at Chicago; and RONALD SOLOMON, Ohio State University: for their paper "The Classification of Finite Simple Groups: Groups of Characteristic 2 Type" (Mathematical Surveys and Monographs, 172, American Mathematical Society, Providence, RI, 2011), which offers to the general mathematical public an articulate and readable exposition of one aspect of the classification of finite simple groups.

AMS Steele Prize for a Seminal Contribution to Research: WILLIAM P. THURSTON, Cornell University, for his work in low dimensional topology, particularly his series of highly original papers that started with "Hyperbolic structures on 3-manifolds. I. Deformation of acylindrical manifolds" (ANNALS OF MATHEMATICS (2) 124 (1986), no. 2, 203-246).

AMS-SIAM George David Birkhoff Prize in Applied Mathematics: BJORN ENGQUIST, University of Texas at Austin: for his contributions to a wide range of powerful computational methods over more than three decades.

AMS Cole Prize in Algebra: ALEXANDER MERKURJEV, University of California, Los Angeles: for his work on the essential dimension of groups, particularly the following 3 papers: "Canonical p-dimension of algebraic groups" (with N. Karpenko), ADVANCES IN MATHEMATICS 205 (2006), no. 2, 410-433; "Essential dimension of finite p-groups" (with N. Karpenko), INVENTIONES MATHEMATICAE 172 (2008), no. 3, 491-508); "Essential p-dimension of PGL(p^2)" JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MATHEMATICAL SOCIETY 23 (2010), no. 3, 693-712.

AMS Conant Prize: PERSI DIACONIS, Stanford University, for his article "The Markov chain Monte Carlo revolution" (BULLETIN OF THE AMS 46 (2009), no. 2, 179-205).

AMS Whiteman Prize: JOSEPH W. DAUBEN, City University of New York: for his contributions to the history of Western and Chinese mathematics, and for deepening and broadening the international mathematical community's awareness and understanding of its history and culture.

AMS Award for Distinguished Public Service: WILLIAM MCCALLUM, University of Arizona: for his extraordinary energy in promoting improvement of mathematics education in the national and international arenas, and in particular for founding the Institute for Mathematics and Education at the University of Arizona.

AMS-MAA-SIAM Morgan Prize: JOHN PARDON, a senior mathematics major at Princeton University: for solving a problem on distortion of knots posed in 1983 by Mikhail Gromov.

JPBM Communications Award: DANA MACKENZIE, freelance writer and editor: for a remarkably broad and deep body of writing for experts and nonexperts alike, focusing largely on mathematics itself, but also touching geology, climate change, astronomy, academic mathematics as a profession, and even the game of chess.

After the prize ceremony, the full citation for this prize and
additional information can be found in the Prize Booklet, at
http://www.

Founded in 1888 to further mathematical research and scholarship, today the more than 30,000 member American Mathematical Society fulfills its mission through programs and services that promote mathematical research and its uses, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connections to other disciplines and to everyday life.