Biographical Sketch

Richard Laugesen


Richard Laugesen is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics, which he joined in 1997. Notable service for the department includes the Executive Committee (2004-2006) and Director of Graduate Studies (2012-2017), and for the Graduate College he serves on the steering committee of the Sloan University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM). He has twice been vice president of the Campus Faculty Association.


His efforts to expand career opportunities for graduate students in mathematics include the NSF grant “PI4: Program for Interdisciplinary and Industrial Internships at Illinois (2014-2019)”, chairing the Career Opportunities Committee of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM, Jan. 2019 - Dec. 2020), and co-authoring the “BIG Jobs Guide: Business, Industry, and Government Careers for Mathematical Scientists, Statisticians, and Operations Researchers”, published in 2018.

Teaching forms an important part of Laugesen’s scholarly life, as recognized by the Campus Award for Excellence in Graduate and Professional Teaching (2017), the Mathematics Department Distinguished Teaching Award for Tenured Faculty (2016), the Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2003), and the Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2003).

He has published more than 60 papers in the areas of harmonic analysis and partial differential equations, with a particular emphasis on symmetry as a marker of extremality. Eigenvalues of the Laplacian and bi-Laplacian, under potentials and magnetic fields, represent frequencies of vibration, rates of decay to equilibrium, and quantum energy levels. His research proves “sharp” inequalities on these physical quantities, by identifying a shape or configuration on which the eigenvalue is maximal or minimal.