Doctor Honoris Causa of ENS de Lyon - October 29, 2015
Luigi Ambrosio is a discreet mathematician, who enjoys nothing more than a peaceful bike ride around his neighborhood. Or working at his desk, with his dog curled up at his feet. Yet this Italian father of three girls is also a workaholic and a major figure in his field of mathematics: calculus of variations and partial differential equations.
Admitted to the Scuola Normale di Pisa in 1981, Ambrosio wanted to study mathematics because he thought he was meant to be an engineer. But in the hallways of this temple of maths, he met the man who would change his life and become his thesis director: Ennio De Giorgi.
Ambrosio defended his Master's thesis in 1985. He got his first job in 1988 at the University of Tor Vergata (Rome II) without even defending his PhD. He held various positions in Italy until he was appointed in 1997 at the Scuola Normale di Pisa, where he trained many mathematicians. His 16 PhD students have today become professors in prestigious universities around the world. Ambrosio has also taught at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich (ETHZ) and the Institut Henri Poincaré (Paris).
Over the years, the Sculoa Normale in Pisa and the ENS de Lyon have maintained close ties, especially in the fields of teaching and research in math. Ambrosio has met members of the UMPA, Albert Fathi, Etienne Ghys, Denis Serre, Cedric Villani during seminars and conferences in France, Italy, the United States and Germany. The schools have set up joint courses, conferences and an international joint doctorate bringing together Ambrosio and Villani as co-directors of Alessio Figalli's thesis.
Ambrosio has been awarded numerous prizes including the Prix Fermat in 2003. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the world's oldest scientific academy. In 2008, he was a speaker at the European Congress of Mathematics in Amsterdam.