the northrop building at midday

University of Minnesota math professor receives prestigious 2023 Blavatnik Award for physical sciences and engineering

Svitlana Mayboroda is the first researcher at the University to receive the $250,000 award

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/26/2023)—University of Minnesota Twin Cities Professor Svitlana Mayboroda has been named the 2023 Blavatnik National Awards Laureate in Physical Sciences & Engineering. She is the first University of Minnesota faculty member to receive the award.

Mayboroda will receive a $250,000 prize, the largest unrestricted scientific award for America’s most innovative, young faculty-ranked scientists and engineers. She will also receive a medal at the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists Ceremony in September 2023.

Mayboroda was one of 267 faculty members nominated from 134 of the nation’s leading academic and research institutions and was selected to receive the award from a competitive pool of 31 National Awards Finalists.

Mayboroda is a McKnight Presidential and Northrop Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Mathematics. Her research focuses broadly on analysis and partial differential equations, particularly on the behavior of waves in complex media.

Humans interact with waves of all sorts, from the electromagnetic waves that comprise the light we see to the sound waves that we hear. Wave localization is a phenomenon in condensed matter physics where waves behave differently in materials with irregular or “disordered” structures and geometry. Studying and understanding wave localization has a wide variety of real-world implications and can help engineers develop more efficient semiconductors, LED light systems, solar panels, and highway sound barriers, among other devices.

Mayboroda is the director of the Simons Foundation-funded Collaboration on Localization of Waves, an interdisciplinary project that brings together mathematicians, physicists, and engineers from institutions around the world to study wave localization.

She is known for her role in developing the field’s breakthrough “localization landscape” theory, which allows researchers to create faster, more accurate computational models of disordered materials in ways that weren’t previously possible.

“It’s a huge deal for a mathematician to receive an award like this because it’s a subject where it can take years to prove a good theorem and get results,” Mayboroda said. “It’s an incredible honor for me to receive this award, and it provides great recognition of the research in mathematics that can impact science and technology in the real world.”

Mayboroda received full higher education degrees (master’s degree equivalents) in applied mathematics and in finance in 2001 in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2006. She held postdoctoral and faculty positions at Australian National University, The Ohio State University, Brown University, and Purdue University before coming to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as an associate professor in 2011.

In addition to the Blavatnik Award, Mayboroda has received numerous accolades in her field, including a 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Missouri, a 2015 American Mathematical Society Fellowship, the Association for Women in Mathematics’ 2014 Sadosky Prize, a National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2011, and a Sloan Fellowship in 2010.

Read more about the 2023 Blavatnik Awards.

Learn more about the Simons Collaboration on Localization of Waves.