Mathematicians, Including Simons Foundation Grantees, Awarded Top Honors by the International Mathematical Union

The Simons Foundation congratulates the nine outstanding mathematicians honored this year by awards bestowed by the International Mathematical Union (IMU). Five of this year’s awardees are past or present Simons Foundation grantees, including two Fields Medal winners.

The IMU presented five of the awards during a ceremony on July 5 in Helsinki. The sixth award, the Olga Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya Prize, was given on July 2 in Helsinki during a celebration in honor of Ladyzhenskaya’s 100th birthday.

Fields Medal

The Fields Medal — one of the most prestigious awards in mathematics and given to mathematicians under 40 years old — went to Hugo Duminil-Copin, June Huh, James Maynard and Maryna Viazovska.

Duminil-Copin is a mathematician at the University of Geneva and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES) in France. The award recognizes his solutions to “long-standing problems in the probabilistic theory of phase transitions in statistical physics.” He is a principal investigator of the Simons Collaboration on Localization of Waves.

Huh, a mathematician at Princeton University, received the Fields Medal for his study of “abstract spaces built from combinatorial objects, enabling him to make many breakthroughs, including the proof of the Dowling-Wilson conjecture for geometric lattices.” He is a 2021 Simons Investigator in Mathematics.

Maynard “made major advances in number theory — in particular, the location of prime numbers and the approximation of real numbers with fractions.” He is a mathematician at the University of Oxford.

Viazovska “proved that the E8 lattice provides the densest packing of identical spheres in eight dimensions, while also solving certain problems in Fourier analysis.” She is a Ukrainian mathematician at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Abacus Medal

Mark Braverman of Princeton University received the Abacus Medal for his “breakthroughs in the theory of information complexity, enabling the development of ingenious compression methods and noise-resilient communication protocols.” Braverman is a principal investigator in the Simons Collaboration on Algorithms and Geometry.

The honor is sponsored by the Simons Foundation and recognizes outstanding contributions in the mathematical aspects of information sciences. The award is a continuation of the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, awarded from 1982 to 2018.

Chern Medal

Barry Mazur of Harvard University was the winner of the Chern Medal for his “profound discoveries in topology, arithmetic geometry and number theory, and is also known for his leadership and generosity in developing the next generation of mathematicians.” The medal is jointly awarded by IMU and the Chern Medal Foundation, and recognizes lifelong achievements in mathematics.

Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize

The Gauss Prize, jointly awarded by the IMU and the German Mathematical Society, recognizes “outstanding mathematical contributions that have found significant applications outside of mathematics.” This year’s award went to Elliott H. Lieb of Princeton University, who for seven decades “has made deep mathematical contributions that have shaped the fields of quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, computational chemistry and quantum information theory.” Lieb is a 2012 Simons Fellow in Mathematics.

Leelavati Prize

The Leelavati Prize went to Nikolai Andreev of the Steklov Mathematical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. The prize, which honors outstanding contributions to public outreach in mathematics, noted how Andreev’s mathematically accurate animation and model-building, which are freely available for anyone to use, have been invaluable in popularizing mathematics, often against hardship.

Olga Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya Prize

Svetlana Jitomirskaya of the University of California, Irvine, received the inaugural Olga Alexandrovna Ladyzhenskaya Prize. The award is named after the noted Russian mathematician and recognizes revolutionary results in or with applications to mathematical physics.

Jitomirskaya received the prize for her “groundbreaking work in mathematical physics, especially on the so-called almost periodic Schrödinger operators and Jacobi matrices.” Jitomirskaya is a 2020 Simons Fellow in Mathematics.

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