Walter Craig, one of Canada’s most accomplished and distinguished mathematicians, passed away January 18th at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton at 65 years of age.
Walter was recruited to Canada and McMaster University in 2000 as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Analysis and its Applications, the very first appointment through the CRC program in the country. He was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008 and was one of the inaugural group of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society named in 2013. He was awarded a Killam Fellowship in 2009.
In 2013, Walter was appointed Director of the Fields Institute, one of the world’s leading mathematics research institutes. He served in this capacity for two years, until he received the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Walter created the Applied and Industrial Mathematics Lab at McMaster as a component of his Canada Research Chair, and organized three year-long thematic programs at the Fields Institute during his 18 years in Canada. He was the driving force behind innumerable conferences and workshops around the world. Walter’s research enterprise included more than 100 articles published in top journals.
Walter was a valued colleague in McMaster’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, where he also served as an exceptional mentor to many undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and young mathematicians. As an academic supervisor, he shared his passion and expertise in the field of partial differential equations and the study of infinite-dimensional Hamiltonian systems and nonlinear partial differential equations. His contributions while at McMaster were recognized with conferral of the title Distinguished University Professor in 2016.
Above all else, Walter was a devoted and loving husband to Deirdre Haskell and a proud father to Zoe Haskell-Craig. Walter will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him as a mathematician, colleague and dear friend.
The Walter Craig Mathematics and Statistics Colloquium Fund has been established to support the colloquium series, which features speakers presenting current research in mathematics and statistics, and welcomes faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students to discuss their subject in an informal setting.
Photo credit - Deborah Craig