James Serrin

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James B. Serrin (born November 1, 1926 in Chicago ; † August 23, 2012 in Minneapolis ) was an American mathematician who mainly deals with differential equations (partial and ordinary) as well as continuum mechanics and thermodynamics .

Serrin received his PhD from Indiana University in 1951 with David Gilbarg ( The existence and uniqueness of flows solving four free boundary problems ). He was then an instructor at Princeton in 1951 and Moore instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1952 to 1954 . In 1954 he was Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota , 1954 Associate Professor and 1959 Professor (from 1969 Regents Professor ). In 1964/65 he was dean of the mathematics faculty there. Since 1995 he has been Professor Emeritus there. He was visiting professor at Stanford University , Oxford University , the Mittag-Leffler Institute in Stockholm and the University of Chicago, among others .

Serrin dealt, for example, with the partial differential equations of hydrodynamics (Navier-Stokes equations, boundary layer theory), the mathematical foundations of thermodynamics and minimal areas. According to him, the Gilbarg-Serrin theorem on isolated singularities, the Serrin symmetry theorem , the Meyers-Serrin theorem (Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 1964), the Alexandrov-Serrin moving plane technique, is the Peletier -Serrin uniqueness theorem and the Serrin integral in the calculus of variations.

He has been married since 1952 and has three children.

In 1973 he received the Birkhoff Prize of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences , the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Finnish Academy of Sciences. He was an honorary doctor from Ferrara, Padua and Sussex. In 1970 he was invited speaker at the international congresses of mathematicians ( Boundary curvatures and the solvability of Dirichlet's problem ) and 1983 ( The structure and laws of thermodynamics ).


  • with Patrizia Pucci: The Maximum Principle. Birkhäuser 2007.
  • Mathematical Principles of Classical Fluid Mechanics. in S.Flügge (editor): Handbook of Physics , Volume VIII / 1, Fluid Mechanics 1, Springer-Verlag 1959.
  • as editor: New Perspectives in Thermodynamics. Springer 1986.
  • The problem of Dirichlet for quasilinear elliptic differential equations with many independent variables , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Volume 264, 1969, pp. 413-496


  • Giuseppe Buttazzo, Galdi, Lanconelli, Patrizia Pucci (editors): Nonlinear analysis and continuum mechanics - papers for the 65th Birthday of James Serrin. Springer 1998 (1992 conference in Ferrara).
  • S. Antman (editor): Analysis and continuum mechanics - a collection of papers dedicated to James Serrin on his 60th birthday. Springer 1989.

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