Cathleen Synge Morawetz

Canadian mathematician (1923-2017)

Cathleen Synge Morawetz (May 5, 1923 – August 8, 2017) was a Canadian mathematician who spent her career working as an applied mathematician in the United States. She was the president of the American Mathematical Society for a two-year term from 1995 to 1996. In 1998 she was awarded the USA's National Medal of Science.

Cathleen Synge Morawetz in 2009


  • For my topic today I have chosen a subject connecting mathematics and aeronautical engineering. The histories of these two subjects are close. It might appear however to the layman that, back in the time of the first powered flight in 1903, aeronautical engineering had little to do with mathematics. The Wright brothers, despite the fact that they had no university education, were well read and learned their art using wind tunnels but it is unlikely that they knew that airfoil theory was connected to the Riemann conformal mapping theorem. But it was also the time of Joukowski and later Prandtl who developed and understood that connection and put mathematics solidly behind the new engineering. Since that time each new geernation has discovered new problems that are at the forefront of both fields. One such problem is flight near the speed of sound. This one in fact has puzzled more than one generation.

Quotes about Cathleen Morawetz