The CoE’s main area of research was mathematical analysis and its applications in mathematical physics and biology.
Mathematical analysis is currently enjoying a phase of strong growth and development, including close interaction with other mathematical fields and applications. For example, all four Fields Medals (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in mathematics) in 2008 went to this area of mathematics, and the specific subjects areas were all represented at the CoE.
The CoE represented the cutting edge of Finnish mathematics.
The red thread that tied together research at the CoE was dynamics. Key areas of research included dynamic models in physics, biology and practical applications. Another major area of interest was the mathematical theory of phenomena occurring within these models, such as chaos, fractals and turbulence.
The aim was to create a stronger link between the best pure mathematics and applications. This stimulates pure mathematics, throws up new challenges and is useful in developing applications.
One of the CoE’s research projects in the field of function theory, for example, was inspired by a mathematical problem arising in medical tomography, and the resolution of this problem had important practical implications. Questions concerning the distribution of galaxies in the universe led to interesting new studies in fractal mathematics. Theoretical studies of turbulence have for their part led to cooperation with the chemical and paper industry, and studies in statistical mechanics have found applications in the field of wireless mobile networks.
The CoE was headed by Academy Professor Antti Kupiainen from the University of Helsinki. He received his doctorate in mathematical physics from the University of Princeton, USA, in 1980, and was subsequently appointed as Professor of Mathematics at Rutgers University. Since 1999, he has served as Academy Professor. Kupiainen’s research has covered many areas of mathematics and physics; most recently his focus has been on problems of dynamics related to chaos and turbulence. In 2004, he received the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s Award of Recognition for his defence of the mathematical worldview.
The CoE was hosted by the universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä. It had a staff of eleven senior researchers and some 40 other researchers and postgraduate students.