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M. Salah Baouendi (1937-2011)

M. Salah Baouendi

M. Salah Baouendi, Distinguished Professor in UC San Diego’s Department of Mathematics, a world renowned researcher and a model for leadership on the campus, died peacefully in his home on December 24, 2011. He was 74.  He had a great passion for mathematics, as well as for the department and campus and made fundamental and lasting contributions to mathematics. Salah was particularly passionate about mentoring young mathematicians.  Part of his legacy is a world-wide group of mathematicians working on questions that were inspired by Salah and his mathematics.

Salah obtained his PhD in 1967 under the direction of Laurent Schwartz and Bernard Malgrange in Paris. He held positions in Paris, Nice and Tunis before moving to the U.S. and joining the faculty at Purdue University, where he also served as the chair of its Mathematics Department for many years.  Salah’s early work had a tremendous impact in mathematics and his subsequent research accomplishments received a great deal of recognition from the scientific community.  He was invited to deliver a lecture at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1974.  He was awarded the Stefan Bergman Prize (jointly with Linda Rothschild) in 2003, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005. 

Salah joined the faculty at UC San Diego’s Department of Mathematics in 1988.  He was an important influence on campus since he first arrived, and his wisdom was recognized and respected both within the department and on the rest of the campus.  He served on numerous important departmental and university committees.  Among other substantial contributions, he served on the UCSD Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP) in 2002-2004, as chair of the committee in 2003-2004.  His commitment to the profession was equally impressive.  For the American Mathematical Society, he served on its Council, its Committee on Committees, its Executive Committee of the Council, as well as the Committee on the Profession.  He served as chair of the US National Committee of Mathematics.  He was a U.S. delegate to the general assembly of the International Mathematical Union, and served on its Executive Committee in 2007-2010.  Salah co-founded the influential mathematical journal “Communications in Partial Differential Equations,” and together with his wife Linda Rothschild, an emeritus professor of mathematics at UC San Diego, he started the highly successful journal “Mathematical Research Letters.”

Salah leaves behind his wife and long-term collaborator Linda Rothschild, a son and daughter from a previous marriage, three grandchildren, and two step sons. They, UC San Diego, and mathematics in general have suffered a great loss with his passing. Salah’s kindness and wisdom will be sorely missed by all who knew him.