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Fellows Directory

Karen Uhlenbeck

Karen Uhlenbeck

Professor Karen Uhlenbeck ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 2023


Karen Uhlenbeck is a mathematician best known for her major contributions to mathematical gauge theory, including foundational results on minimal surfaces and harmonic maps, Yang–Mills theory, and integrable systems.  Her current work involves minimizers of Lipschitz constants motivated by the work of  Thurston in topology.

Karen Uhlenbeck received her BA from the University of Michigan and her PhD degree from Brandeis University.  Uhlenbeck spent most of her career at the University of Texas Austin, but also held professorships at the University of Illinois and the University of Chicago. Uhlenbeck now retired and holds a visiting position at  the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Honors she has received are election to the National  Academy of Science, the National Medal Of Science, American Philosophical Society and honorary degrees from seven US colleges and universities.  She was the second woman to give a plenary talk at an  International Congress of Mathematicians and the first woman to receive the Abel prize.

Professional positions

Professor Emerita, University of Texas at Austin
Distinguished Visiting Professor, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Mathematics
    • Pure mathematics


Calculus of variations, Teichmuller theory

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