Ivo Babuška, who made pioneering contributions in the fields of mathematics, applied mathematics, numerical methods and computational mechanics, died April 12, 2023 at age 97.
A Czech-American citizen, Babuška was world-renowned for his studies of the finite element method (FEM) and proof of the Babuška–Lax–Milgram theorem. He spent the final 23 years of his career at The Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin where he retired as professor emeritus.
“Ivo was one of the greatest mathematicians of our lifetime, a true giant,” stated J. Tinsley Oden, founding director of the Oden Institute. “We are so very fortunate to have known him and to have had him as a dear friend and active member of our institute and faculty. We will miss him and always remember his kind manner and his enthusiasm for his work and that of his colleagues.”
Born March 22, 1926, in Prague, Czech Republic, Babuška was the son of architect Milan Babuška and wife Marie. According to his biography, he lived through the 1938 German invasion and much of his secondary education took place under German occupation.
During his early career in Czechoslovakia, Babuška met his wife, Renata at Charles University and they married in 1957. When Soviet tanks rolled into Prague in 1968, Babuška and his family, which now included two children, immigrated to the United States via an invitation from the University of Maryland, College Park. He initially spent a year as a visiting professor at the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Applied Mathematics and then became a permanent faculty member there until his first retirement in 1995.