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In Memory of James H. Bramble

MEMORIES & CONDOLENCES
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  • 1
    I came to Cornell in the fall of 1974 to study with Jim Bramble. Based on my master thesis at the University of Oslo I had already published a paper in BIT, Numerical Mathematics, on collocation methods for eigenvalue problems. I was recommended by Burton Wendroff, who was a visiting professor at the University of Oslo, 1973/1974, to go to Cornell and to study with Jim. According to Burton, Cornell and Maryland was the places to go to study numerical methods for pde's at the time. I started at Cornell the same semester that Lars Wahlbin began as an assistant professor. I spent nearlythree wonderful years at Cornell, with Jim as my advisor, and with additional support from Lars and Al Schatz. I also overlapped with other students of Jim, such as John Trangenstein, Joe Pasciak, and Peter Sammon. Jim, and the rest of the group at Cornell, gave me a mathematical foundation that I have benefitted from the rest of my academic career. Jim was an excellent advisor and a good fiend.
    Ragnar Winther
    Friend
    Nov 05, 2021
  • 2
    I was my good fortune to have Jim as one of my advisors. On every occasion I asked Jim about something mathematically complex, he could immediately reveal it as built out of easier pieces. It was a privilege to witness him begin with an idea and build it up to a proof with impeccable technical prowess. He told me once that it is not the devil that is in the details, it must be god, thus teaching me memorably the importance of getting every detail right. As a novice taking Jim's class, I remember him proving a result that seemed critical for all the finite element error estimates later. He didn't mention this result had a name, and until the teaching assistant told us several weeks later, we didn't know that the result was known worldwide as the Bramble-Hilbert lemma. That was Jim, a distinguished master of the field, yet always unassuming and always approachable. I miss him.
    Jay Gopalakrishnan
    Work
    Oct 31, 2021
  • 3
    Dr. Bramble (who always insisted I call him Jim!) was the most influential figure in my career. His continuous support and belief in me made my graduate studies at TAMU one of the most enjoyable and stress-free times in my professional life. He was an exceptional mathematician, an incredible mentor and a friend. My deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and his colleagues. Jim, we will miss you…
    Dimitar Trenev
    Work
    Oct 28, 2021
  • 4
    Jim showed me what it means to be a mathematician and taught me how to strive for perfection in everything I do. His insight, friendliness and enthusiasm are things I will always remember and try to emulate in my own career. My heartfelt condolences.
    Tzanio Kolev
    Work
    Oct 26, 2021
  • 5
    I will never forget the day in the year 1996 when Jim accepted to be my academic advisor, and the day in fall 2000 when he called me “Doctor”. I will always be grateful for everything Jim taught me about being a researcher, a teacher, a mentor and a caring person. My sincere condolences to his family and to my academic siblings.
    Constantin Bacuta
    Friend
    Oct 11, 2021
  • 6
    Jim Bramble was one of the most distinguished computational mathematicians in the world. He made many fundamental contributions to the design and analysis of numerical methods for partial differential equations, including the finite difference method, the finite element method, and the multigrid and domain decomposition methods. He loved mathematics, developed many important algorithms, and proved many great theorems. Yet, he balanced his love of mathematics with a love of life beyond work: He played tennis and golf, knew how to enjoy a good time, and was a true and genuinely caring friend to so many of us. He had a great life! Jim was my PhD thesis advisor at Cornell University (spring 1985-fall 1988) where he had made a special effort to get me admitted. He taught me how to conduct high-quality creative research and guided me in many other things in my life. He was a great mentor, a father figure, and a dear friend. His kindness and generosity made an immeasurable impact on me, on my academic career, and on my personal life far beyond that sphere. I miss him greatly today and know that I will always do so.
    Jinchao Xu
    Work
    Sep 28, 2021