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January 7, 2009

Glenn Webb Honored with Special Issue

Professor Glenn Webb has been honored with the dedication of a special issue of Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena. Vol. 3, No. 7 (2008) of the journal is dedicated to Webb in honor of his 65th birthday.

Mathematical Modelling of Natural Phenomena is an international research journal specializing in mathematical modeling in biology, medicine, chemistry, physics, and other areas. Mathematical modeling in biology is Webb’s specialty, and the papers included in the special issue are focused in this field.

In an introduction to the special issue, W.E. Fitzgibbon of the University of Houston details Webb’s career and his numerous contributions to mathematics and biomedical mathematics.

Webb, who joined the Vanderbilt Mathematics department in 1968, distinguished himself first as a pioneer in the area of nonlinear accretive operator theory and nonlinear semigroups and evolution operators. He went on to lead research in the theory and applications of cosine and sine operators. His research then turned to mathematical biology, with special interest in the spread of infectious disease and nonlinear population models.

“He became and continues to be recognized as one of the experts on the mathematical theory of nonlinear age dependent population dynamics,” writes Fitzgibbon.

From mathematical biology, which involves the development of general models, Webb moved to research that is more accurately described as biomedical mathematics, which is concerned with specific systems or maladies and is data driven. His continuing biomedical mathematics work is directed towards specific diseases such as HIV, SARS, drug-resistant bacteria, and a variety of cancers.

Summarizing Webb’s work, Fitzgibbon writes, “Glenn has authored or co-authored over 140 papers, written one research monograph, and co-edited four volumes. He has given plenary lectures, colloquia, and seminars across the globe, and he serves on the editorial boards of 11 archival journals. He has been the dissertation advisor of 16 students. The existence of this compiled volume is in itself a testimony to his dedication and pursuit of scientific excellence. As we honor Glenn, we honor what is excellent in our profession.”

The full introduction, as well as the rest of the special issue, is available here.