Yakov B. Pesin, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at Penn State, has been elected as a foreign member of the Academy of Europe (Academia Europaea). The Academy of Europe is a non-governmental association with the goal of advancing and propagating scholarship in the humanities; law; the economic, social, and political sciences; mathematics; medicine; and all branches of natural and technological sciences anywhere in the world for the public benefit and for the advancement of the education of the public of all ages. Membership in the Academy, which includes 72 Nobel Laureates, is conferred through nominations based on the scholarship and eminence of the individual in their chosen field, and elections are confirmed by the council of the Academy. Pesin was elected to the Mathematics section of the Academy.
Pesin’s primary areas of research are the theory of dynamical systems with an emphasis on smooth ergodic theory, dimension theory in dynamical systems, and Riemannian geometry, as well as mathematical and statistical physics. He has made many fundamental contributions to the theory of dynamical systems and its applications. His work created some radically novel approaches in dynamics and he has also solved some long standing famous mathematical conjectures such as the “Entropy conjecture” in smooth ergodic theory and the "Eckmann-Ruelle conjecture” in dimension theory.
Pesin's 1977 theory, which is now called the "Pesin theory,” laid down the foundations of the theory of non-uniformly hyperbolic dynamical systems—the mathematical theory of chaos. His monographs on non-uniform hyperbolicity theory represent further widespread progress of the theory. In a 1984 paper and then in his book, “Dimension Theory in Dynamical Systems," Pesin opened up a new area in dynamical systems theory which lies in the interface of geometric measure theory and smooth ergodic theory. Additionally, Pesin's works constitute the basic ingredients of the theory of coupled map lattices, also known as dynamical networks, that have become important for numerous applications in physics and biology.
Pesin is the director of Anatole Katok Center for Dynamical Systems and Geometry at Penn State. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2012. Pesin has been invited to give many distinguished lectures throughout his career. He was an invited speaker at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 1986, presented an invited address at the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Annual Meeting in 1996, an invited address at the American Mathematical Society Annual Meeting in 2001, and the Bernoulli Lecture at the Centre Interfacultaire Bernoulli, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland in 2013.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Pesin was a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 1989. He earned master’s and doctorate degrees at the Moscow State University in 1970 and 1979, respectively.