Antonmaria (Tim) Minzoni
Antonmaria `Tim' Minzoni Alessio who passed away on July 1 st 2017, was born on 16th of July 1950 in Milan, Italy. Tim's family emigrated to Mexico soon after Tim's birth, and Tim grew up in México City. Tim studied Mathematics at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), receiving his Bachelor's degree in 1972. He was accepted to the graduate program in Applied Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) where he studied water waves under the supervision of Gerald B. Whitham. He obtained his Ph.D thesis, titled \Some problems of edge waves and standing waves on beaches", in 1976.
After graduating from Caltech, Tim returned to Mexico for family reasons and was offered a starting position at the Departamento de Matemáticas y Mecánica of the Instituto de Investigaciones en Matemáticas Aplicadas y en Sistemas (IIMAS) of UNAM, in Mexico City. He eventually spent his entire academic career at IIMAS, reaching the highest academic rank of Investigador Titular C in 1995.
In his early years at UNAM, Tim coincided at IIMAS with other outstanding young mathematicians with comparable backgrounds that went on to have a significant influence in advancing applied mathematics at UNAM. During the first 20 years of his career Tim also held visiting academic positions at Caltech, the Tata Institutes for Fundamental Research, in Bombay, and Bangalore, the University of Bath, Northwestern University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Wollongong, Southern Methodist University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Edinburgh. Tim enjoyed these travels greatly, learning mathematics from some renowned experts, and becoming immersed in each country's history and culture.
Tim's primary research area was nonlinear wave propagation and he was also characterized by an unusual width of research interests in physics and the health sciences. His early research, until the mid 1980s, focused on nonlinear effects in guided modes in water waves. During that time Tim also worked on other problems related to geophysics and fluid dynamics.
In the 1990s Tim's research turned to solitons and coherent structures, and he became a leading expert in combining averaged Langrangian modulation methods with asymptotics. He became interested in differential geometric and general relativistic wave equations, contributing to the semiclassical theory of black holes, in collaboration with theoretical physicists M. Rosenbaum and A. Corichi of UNAM. In the last 15 years of his life time studied optical solitons in nematic liquid crystals, working with leading experimentalist G. Assanto of University of Rome, Roma Tre, and longtime collaborator N. F. Smyth of the the University of Edinburgh. Their analysis of the radiation shed by solitons led to a quantitative description of many of the nonlinear optics phenomena seen in the lab.
In the 1990s, Tim and his colleagues at the Departamento de Matemáticas y Mecánica of IIMAS buit a strong group of experts in nonlinear differential equations and applications in physics, biology, geophysics, engineering, etc. Tim together with mathematician J. Ize of UNAM was one of the driving forces in a program to foment research in the nonlinear applied mathematics through interaction with other disciplines at a university wide level. The program's acronym FENOMEC (Fenómenos Nolineales en Mecánica) became a synomym for interdisciplinary mathematics at UNAM and inspired other similar initiatives.
Tim had a career-long interest in medicine, biophysics, and biomathematics. As a highschool student Tim audited medical school training lab sessions, and seriously considered becoming a medical doctor. Tim retook his interest in biology and medicine after graduate
school and pursued several collaborations with medical doctors and experimental biologists.
In the 1980's Tim collaborated with noted physiologist F. Alonso de Florida of UNAM on modeling mathematically the Kindling effect in epileptic seizures. Later work includes mathematical studies of nonlinear diffusion equations, biological oscillations and nonlinear
lattice models for energy transport in biomolecules. More recent projects include neurotransmitter signaling, chemotherapy dosage, and the long-time dynamics of heart valves. Tim's recognition by health science researchers in Mexico is indicated by his invitation by UNAM
and the Mexico City government to coordinate modeling the A(H1N1) outbreak in 2007 in Mexico. Tim and noted hepatologist D. Kershenobich of Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Zubiran (INCMNSZ) also started in 2012 a mathematics-medicine brown-bag seminar, currently held every Thursday at the INCMNSZ.
Tim's varied academic interests reflected his great intellect, curiosity and energy. His personality, especially his sense of humor and frequent irreverence made science and mathematics fun for him and those around him. Tim was active in all aspects of academic life at UNAM and participated in all sorts of academic debates, making dedicated friends as well as enemies. Most importantly, Tim was always finding new people to discuss science and to collaborate with.
Tim's mathematical and scientific achievements signal him as one of the outstanding applied mathematicians coming out of the Caltech Applied Mathematics program during the 1970s. He was also an outstanding academic who was able to pass a lot of his experience and scientific view to several generations of younger colleagues. Tim supervised seven doctoral students and three postdocs at UNAM, and taught, mentored, and recruited most of UNAM's applied mathematicians.
This is a modification/summary of obituaries that originally appeared in the Caltech Alumni AssociationWebsite (https://www.alumni.caltech.edu/in-memoriam/2017/11/2/antonmaria-tim-minz...) and in Physics Today Online (https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4o.20171009a/full/).