Svitlana Mayboroda

2023 National Award Winner — Faculty

Svitlana Mayboroda

Current Position:
McKnight Presidential Professor

University of Minnesota

Applied Mathematics

Recognized for: 

Recognized for the invention of localization landscape theory, which solves some long-standing problems in condensed matter physics. Mayboroda and her collaborators developed an elegant mathematical framework to explain why waves do not propagate in complex or disordered material at atomic scales. Her work provides physicists with a new fundamental understanding of matter yielding improvements in crucial 21st century technologies, including LED lighting, semiconductors, and solar cells.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: 

Partial Differential Equations, Harmonic Analysis, Geometric Measure Theory

Previous Positions:

  • Associate Professor, Professor, University of Minnesota
  • Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Purdue University
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Brown University (Jill Pipher)
  • Zassenhaus Visiting Assistant Professor, Ohio State University (Vladimir Maz’ya)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Australian National University, Australia (Alan McIntosh)
  • PhD in Mathematics, University of Missouri (Marius Mitrea)
  • MBA in Finance, Kharkiv Inst. of Soc. Progress, Ukraine
  • MS in Applied Mathematics, Kharkiv National University, Ukraine

Research Summary:

Our world is filled with waves—from the electromagnetic waves that allow wireless digital communication to the mechanical vibrations in the Earth’s crust capable of leveling buildings during an earthquake. Our understanding of waves has given rise to many useful technologies, including lasers, infrared remote controls, microwave ovens, and radios. At the forefront of modern science are new technologies based on the ability to map and manipulate matter on atomic scales, but matter at these scales can be irregular and disordered, and even the slightest disorder can change the behavior of waves. Svitlana Mayboroda, PhD, is using mathematics to provide physicists with a new fundamental understanding of the behavior of matter at nanometer scales—insights that are relevant for today’s ability to shape atomic structures.

Mayboroda and her collaborators have invented an elegant technique known as localization landscape theory. This work addresses a long-standing problem in condensed matter physics pertaining to a halt of wave propagation in complex or disordered materials, a phenomenon known as localization. Mayboroda’s mathematical framework reveals the hidden structures that guide the behavior of waves at the atomic level. Mayboroda’s ground-breaking work is leading to improvements in crucial 21st-century technologies like semiconductors and photodetectors. Importantly, her research is transforming clean energy by informing the design of new LEDs with significant energy savings and improving the efficiency and affordability of solar panels.

Mayboroda is a mathematician endeavoring to both prove theorems and solve real-world problems. She is the Director for the Simons Collaboration for Localization of Waves, a multidisciplinary research effort aimed not just at understanding localization, but at harnessing the power of localization to create a new generation of functional materials and devices. Through her own mathematical research and her collaborations across materials science and engineering, Mayboroda is paving the way for technological solutions to our most critical problems.

"Doing mathematics brings one an exquisite pleasure of discovering the absolute truth."

Key Publications: 

  1. G. David, M. Engelstein, S. Mayboroda. Square functions, non-tangential limits and harmonic measure in co-dimensions larger than one. Duke Mathematical Journal, (2020).
  2. S. Mayboroda, V. Maz’ya. Polyharmonic Capacity and Wiener Test of Higher Order. Inventiones mathematicae, 2018.
  3. D.N. Arnold, G. David, D. Jerison, S. Mayboroda, M. Filoche. Effective Confining Potential of Quantum States in Disordered Media. Physical Review Letters, 2016.
  4. M. Filoche, S. Mayboroda. Universal Mechanism for Anderson and Weak Localization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 2012.

Other Honors: 

2021, 2017 Von Neumann Fellowship, Institute for Advanced Study

2019 Kirk Distinguished Fellowship, Isaac Newton Institute, University of Cambridge

2018 Speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians

2015 Fellow of the American Mathematical Society

2014 AWM-Sadosky Prize in Analysis

2011 NSF CAREER award

2010 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship

In the Media: 

QuantaMathematicians Tame Rogue Waves, Lighting Up Future of LEDs