Professor Jerry Lloyd Bona

Honorary Doctorate of Science (Hon DSc)

Graduation Ceremony: Friday, 23 June, 2023

An internationally renowned mathematician has received one of Heriot-Watt’s highest honours.

Professor Jerry Bona was today (Fri 23 June) presented with an Honorary Degree and the academic title of Doctor of Science for his immense contributions to applied mathematics and for his impact on the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences (ICMS). The ICMS brings together mathematicians, scientists and researchers from academia, industry, and other sectors to collaborate on cutting-edge research problems. It is owned by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Bona was presented with his new scroll at the University’s Edinburgh campus during the Summer Graduation programme.

Through unwavering dedication, insatiable curiosity, and relentless pursuit of truth, Professor Bona has left an indelible mark on the annals of human knowledge.

After accepting his award, Professor Bona said: “I’m deeply honoured that Heriot-Watt University saw fit to honour me in this way and am very happy to become an alumnus of this distinguished institution.” 

Born in the US in 1945, Professor Bona has achieved an illustrious career and is perhaps best known for his work in fluid mechanics and computational mathematics.

His career took hold when, in 1970, he landed in England at the Fluid Mechanics Research Institute at the University of Essex.  During this time, he learned a little fluid mechanics and got involved in problems of wave propagation. 

He moved to the University of Chicago where he spent 14 years learning analysis, numerical. analysis and partial differential equations.   From Chicago, he went to Penn State with Bill Pritchard and Ridgway Scott, lured by the promise of a working fluid mechanics laboratory sited in the mathematics department. 

The lab was constructed and is still operating in the Penn State mathematics department more than 30 years later. 

In the mid 1990’s, Professor Bona moved to the University of Texas at Austin where he was part of the mathematics department and a founding member of a new institute called the Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics.  From Austin, he relocated to his current position as Professor of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, Chicago. 

Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at Heriot-Watt University said: “It is with immense pride and deep admiration that we present Professor Bona with his honorary degree, recognising his outstanding contribution to the world of numbers, logic, and boundless imagination. His ground-breaking work has helped reshape the landscape of mathematics and has also ignited a sense of wonder and possibility for generations to come.

 “Through unwavering dedication, insatiable curiosity, and relentless pursuit of truth, Professor Bona has left an indelible mark on the annals of human knowledge. As we honour Professor Bona it is important to remember that greatness is not achieved through mere equations and theorems, but through the audacity to challenge conventions and push the boundaries of what is known today.”