Karen Uhlenbeck

Karen Uhlenbeck
Karen Uhlenbeck née Keskulla
Born 24 August 1942 (1942-08-24) (age 76)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Residence U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Brandeis University
University of Michigan
Known for Calculus of variations
Awards MacArthur Prize Fellowship
Noether Lecturer (1988)
National Medal of Science (2000)
Leroy P. Steele Prize (2007)
Scientific career
Fields Mathematician
Institutions University of Texas at Austin
University of Chicago
University of Illinois at Chicago
Northwestern University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Doctoral advisor Richard Sheldon Palais
Influences Shing-Tung Yau

Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck (born August 24, 1942) is a professor and Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chairholder in the Department of Mathematics at The University of Texas in Austin.[1][2][3]

Education and career

Uhlenbeck received her B.A. (1964) from the University of Michigan.[1][3] She began her graduate studies at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, and married biophysicist Olke C. Uhlenbeck (the son of physicist George Uhlenbeck) in 1965. When her husband went to Harvard, she moved with him and restarted her studies at Brandeis University, where she earned a M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. (1968) from Brandeis University under the supervision of Richard Palais.[1][3] Her doctoral dissertation was titled The Calculus of Variations and Global Analysis.[4]

After temporary jobs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley, and having difficulty finding a permanent position with her husband because of the "anti-nepotism" rules then in place that prevented hiring both a husband and wife, she took a faculty position at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1971.[5] However, she disliked Urbana and ended up divorcing her husband and moving to the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1976. She moved again to the University of Chicago in 1983, and to the University of Texas as the Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chairholder in 1988.[1][2][3]


She participates or has participated in research in the fields of geometric partial differential equations, the calculus of variations, gauge theory, topological quantum field theory, and integrable systems.[1][6]

Awards and honors

The many awards and honors won by Uhlenbeck include:

Selected publications

  • Freed, Daniel S.; Uhlenbeck, Karen K. (1984), Instantons and Four-Manifolds, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute Publications, 1, Springer-Verlag, New York, doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-0258-2, ISBN 0-387-96036-8, MR 0757358 .
Research articles
  • Uhlenbeck, K. (1977), "Regularity for a class of non-linear elliptic systems", Acta Mathematica, 138 (3–4): 219–240, doi:10.1007/bf02392316, MR 0474389 .
  • Sacks, J.; Uhlenbeck, K. (1981), "The existence of minimal immersions of 2-spheres", Annals of Mathematics, Second Series, 113 (1): 1–24, doi:10.2307/1971131, MR 0604040 .
  • Uhlenbeck, Karen K. (1982), "Removable singularities in Yang–Mills fields", Communications in Mathematical Physics, 83 (1): 11–29, doi:10.1007/bf01947068, MR 0648355 . Announced in Bull. AMS 1 (3): 579–581, MR 0526970.
  • Uhlenbeck, Karen K. (1982), "Connections with Lp bounds on curvature", Communications in Mathematical Physics, 83 (1): 31–42, doi:10.1007/bf01947069, MR 0648356 .
  • Schoen, Richard; Uhlenbeck, Karen (1982), "A regularity theory for harmonic maps", Journal of Differential Geometry, 17 (2): 307–335, MR 0664498 .
  • Uhlenbeck, K.; Yau, S.-T. (1986), "On the existence of Hermitian-Yang-Mills connections in stable vector bundles", Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics (Suppl.: Frontiers of the mathematical sciences, New York, 1985), 39: S257–S293, doi:10.1002/cpa.3160390714, MR 0861491 .
  • Uhlenbeck, Karen (1989), "Harmonic maps into Lie groups: classical solutions of the chiral model", Journal of Differential Geometry, 30 (1): 1–50, MR 1001271 .


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Karen Uhlenbeck", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Karen Uhlenbeck", Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College .
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Katterman, Lee (December 6, 1999), "Michigan Great Karen K. Uhlenbeck: Pioneer in mathematical analysis—and for women mathematicians", The University Record, University of Michigan, retrieved 2014-12-19
  4. Karen Uhlenbeck at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Cooke, Roger (2005). The History of Mathematics: A Brief Course (2. ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-471-44459-6.
  6. 1 2 "Karen Uhlenbeck", Profiles of Women in Mathematics: The Emmy Noether Lectures, Association for Women in Mathematics, retrieved 2014-12-19 .
  7. The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details, National Science Foundation, retrieved 13 December 2009
  8. UT Austin mathematics professor wins National Medal of Science, Univ. of Texas, November 13, 2000, retrieved 2014-12-19 .
  9. Three UT Austin professors win prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships, Univ. of Texas, April 23, 2001, retrieved 2014-12-19 .
  10. List of Fellows, American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-08-28 .
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