By Kenneth Chang, August 2017, The New York Times
Cathleen Morawetz was a famous mathematician who served as a professor at New York University for over thirty years. Born in Toronto in 1923 to Irish immigrants, Dr. Morawetz grew up in a family of mathematicians. It was then not surprising that she too pursued undergraduate and graduate studies in mathematics at the University of Toronto, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York University, respectively. Dr. Morawetz developed equations that describe the motion of fluids and waves – in water, sound, light, and vibrating solids. Later, she studied the scattering of waves off objects and established a method to prove what is known as the Morawetz inequality, which describes the maximum amount of wave energy near an object. Her work is still cited today. Dr. Morawetz’s dedication and passion for research despite her family obligations surprised many at a time when few women pursued professional careers.