Awardees by year
The Simons Foundation congratulates the awardees who have been selected as Simons Investigators in 2017 in mathematics, physics, astrophysics, theoretical computer science, the mathematical modeling of living systems, and Math+X.
The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions.
Simon Brendle has achieved major breakthroughs in geometry including results on the Yamabe compactness conjecture, the differentiable sphere theorem (joint with R. Schoen), the Lawson conjecture and the Ilmanen conjecture, as well as singularity formation in the mean curvature flow, the Yamabe flow and the Ricci flow.
University of Miami
Ludmil Katzarkov has introduced novel ideas and techniques in geometry, proving long-standing conjectures (e.g., the Shavarevich conjecture) and formulating new conceptual approaches to open questions in homological mirror symmetry, rationality of algebraic varieties and symplectic geometry.
Igor Rodnianski is a leading figure in the field of partial differential equations. He has recently proven theorems concerning the full nonlinear dynamics of the Einstein equations, in both the weak and strong field regimes, and has obtained new results regarding gravitational radiation associated to black hole spacetimes.
University of California, Berkeley
Allan Sly resolved long-standing open problems on the computational complexity of phase transitions and on the dynamics of the Ising model.
Nigel Cooper has shown how to design optical lattices for cold atoms that provide controllable laboratories for exploring the physics of interacting particles in the presence of gauge fields. He is also known for foundational works on the topological Kondo effect and on quantum oscillations in topological insulators.
Steven Gubser is known for foundational work on the gauge-string duality and its applications to heavy-ion and condensed matter physics, including a gravitational dual of superconductivity and studies of bulk flows of quark-gluon plasmas. He is also noted for work on semi-classical strings in anti-de Sitter space.
Shamit Kachru’s work includes the discovery of string dualities in N=2 supersymmetry, foundational studies of flux compactification of string theory; mathematical studies of connections between automorphic forms, black holes and string vacua; and quantum field theories describing ‘non-fermi-liquid’ behavior in condensed matter physics.
Anders Sandvik is widely recognized for his development of stochastic series expansion methods for quantum problems and for his creative applications of these and related methods to topics including deconfined quantum criticality and optimization problems.
Eva Silverstein’s research connects the mathematical structure of string theory to predictions for cosmological observables, with implications for dualities, space-time singularities and black hole physics. Her work on axion monodromy provided a theoretically consistent model of large-field inflation.
Eve Ostriker has made major contributions to our understanding of the role of the interstellar medium in star formation and galactic structure and evolution, with a focus on the role of turbulence and on the effects of energy returned by massive stars to the interstellar medium.
University of Chicago
Wayne Hu has shown how cosmological observations can provide information about fundamental physics topics such as neutrino masses and dark energy.
THEORETICAL COMPUTER SCIENCE
University of Texas at Austin
Scott Aaronson has established fundamental theorems in quantum computational complexity and inspired new research directions at the interface of theoretical computer science and the study of physical systems.
Boaz Barak has worked on cryptography, computational complexity and algorithms.
He developed new non-black-box techniques in cryptography and new semidefinite programming-based algorithms for problems related to machine learning and the unique games conjecture.
University of Washington
James R. Lee is one of the leaders in the study of discrete optimization problems and their connections to analysis, geometry and probability. His development of spectral methods and his work on convex relaxations has led to breakthroughs in characterizing the efficacy of mathematical programming for combinatorial optimization.
MATHEMATICAL MODELING OF LIVING SYSTEMS
The University of Chicago
Arvind Murugan works on how organisms enhance information uptake from the environment by using inference from past experience and has applied such ideas to self-assembly dynamics, olfaction, circadian clocks and stress-response pathways.
David Schwab has developed theories of signaling and social aggregation in the social amoeba Dictyostelium and has shown how tensor-network methods from computational quantum physics can be used in machine learning.
Aryeh Warmflash has developed systems to mimic embryonic development in vitro using human embryonic stem cells and is developing dynamical system models of cell fate patterning and morphogenesis that can be rigorously compared with quantitative data on in vitro development.
Daniel Weissman has shown that the generation of ‘irreducible complexity’ happens most frequently in large populations and that the speed of adaptation is limited by the frequency of genetic recombination.
University of California, Los Angeles
Andrea Bertozzi has contributed to many areas of applied mathematics including the theory of swarming behavior, aggregation equations and their solution in general dimension, the theory of particle-laden flows in liquids with free surfaces, data analysis/image analysis at the micro and nano scales and the mathematics of crime.
Amit Singer is one of the leaders in the mathematical analysis of noisy data provided by cryo-EM.