News

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Sir Andrew Wiles appointed as the first Regius Professor of Mathematics at Oxford

Oxford mathematician Sir Andrew Wiles, renowned for his proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, has been appointed by Her Majesty the Queen to be Oxford’s first Regius Professor of Mathematics.

The Regius Professorship – a rare, sovereign-granted title – was granted to Oxford’s Mathematical Institute as part of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. It is the first Regius Professorship awarded to Oxford since 1842.

Sir Andrew is the world’s most celebrated mathematician. In 2016 he was awarded the highest honour in mathematics, the Abel Prize, for his stunning proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem, a conundrum that had stumped mankind for 350 years. In recognition of this transformative work, he was also awarded the Copley medal, the Royal Society’s oldest and most prestigious award.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, said: ‘I know my colleagues join me in offering our warmest congratulations to Sir Andrew on being named Oxford’s newest Regius Professor. It is a fitting recognition of his outstanding contribution to the field of mathematics.’

Professor Martin Bridson, Head of Oxford’s Mathematical Institute, said: ‘The award of the Regius Professorship to Oxford recognised both our pre-eminence in fundamental research and the enormous benefits that flow to society from mathematics.

‘It is entirely fitting that the first holder of this Professorship should be Sir Andrew Wiles. Nobody exemplifies the relentless pursuit of mathematical understanding in the service of mankind better than him. His dedication to solving problems that have defied mankind for centuries, and the stunning beauty of his solutions to these problems, provide a beacon to inspire and sustain everyone who wrestles with the fundamental challenges of mathematics and the world around us. We are immensely proud to have Andrew as a colleague at the Mathematical Institute in Oxford.’

Sir Andrew, who will remain the Royal Society Research Professor of Mathematics at Oxford and a Fellow of Merton College, dedicated much of his early career to solving Fermat’s Last Theorem. First formulated by the French mathematician Pierre de Fermat in 1637, the theorem states:

There are no whole number solutions to the equation $x^n + y^n = z^n$ when n is greater than 2, unless xyz=0

Fermat himself claimed to have found a proof for the theorem but said that the margin of the text he was making notes on was not wide enough to contain it. Sir Andrew first became fascinated with the problem as a boy, and after years of intense private study at Princeton University, he announced he had found a proof in 1993, combining three complex mathematical fields – modular forms, elliptic curves and Galois representations.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, which presents the Abel Prize, said in its citation that ‘few results have as rich a mathematical history and as dramatic a proof as Fermat’s Last Theorem’. The proof has subsequently opened up new fields of inquiry and approaches to mathematics, and Sir Andrew himself continues to pursue his fascination with the subject. In his current research he is developing new ideas in the context of the Langlands Program, a set of far-reaching and influential conjectures connecting number theory to algebraic geometry and the theory of automorphic forms.

The new Regius Professorship in mathematics was one of a dozen announced by the government to celebrate the increasingly important role of academic research in driving growth and improving productivity during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The creation of Regius Professorships falls under the Royal Prerogative, and each appointment is approved by the monarch on ministerial advice.

Sir Andrew’s father, Maurice Wiles, was Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford from 1970 to 1991.

You can watch Sir Andrew's Oxford Mathematics London Public Lecture and interview with Hannah Fry here.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Andreas Sojmark awarded the Bar-Ilan Young Researcher Prize in Financial Mathematics

Oxford Mathematician Andreas Sojmark, a DPhil student in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Partial Differential Equations has been awarded the Bar-Ilan Young Researcher Prize in Financial Mathematics. The prize is awarded to a PhD student or early career postdoctoral researcher for an outstanding paper in financial mathematics submitted for the Third Bar-Ilan Conference in Financial Mathematics.

Andreas' paper `An SPDE model for systemic risk with endogenous contagion' will be presented at the conference at the end of May.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Inaugural András Gács Award given to Oxford Mathematician Gergely Röst

A new mathematical award has been established in Hungary to honour the memory of talented Hungarian mathematician András Gács (1969-2009), a man famed for his popularity among students and his capacity to inspire the young. The committee of the András Gács Award aimed to reward young mathematicians (under the age of 46), who not only excelled in research, but also motivated students to pursue mathematics. Oxford Mathematician Gergely Röst, a Research Fellow of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology, was one of the first two awardees. For nearly a decade Gergely has prepared the students of the Universtiy of Szeged for various international mathematics competitions. One of these is the National Scientific Students' Associations Conference, which is a biannual national contest of student research projects with more than 5000 participants. Gergely supervised a prize winning project in applied mathematics for four years in a row (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017).

The award ceremony took place in Budapest, in the Ceremonial Hall of the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), during the traditional yearly Mathematician’s Concert. 

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Jochen Kursawe awarded the Reinhart Heinrich Prize

Former Oxford Mathematician Jochen Kursawe, now in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health, University of Manchester, has been awarded the Reinhart Heinrich Prize for his thesis on quantitative approaches to investigating epithelial morphogenesis. Jochen worked with Oxford Mathematician Ruth Baker and former Oxford colleague Alex Fletcher, now in the University of Sheffield, on the research.

The Reinhart Heinrich Prize is awarded annually by the European Society for Mathematical and Theoretical Biology (ESMTB).

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Alain Goriely and Mike Giles made SIAM Fellows

Oxford Mathematicians Alain Goriely and Mike Giles have been made Fellows of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Alain is recognised for his "contributions to nonlinear elasticity and theories of biological growth" while Mike receives his Fellowship for his "contributions to numerical analysis and scientific computing, particularly concerning adjoint methods, stochastic simulation, and Multilevel Monte Carlo."

Alain is Professor of Mathematical Modelling in the University of Oxford where he is Director of the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (OCIAM) and Co-Director of the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab (IBMTL). He is an applied mathematician with broad interests in mathematics, mechanics, sciences, and engineering. His current research also include the modelling of new photovoltaic devices, the modelling of cancer and the mechanics of the human brain. He is author of the recently published Applied Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction. Alain is also the founder of the successful Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture series. You can watch his recent Public Lecture, 'Can Mathematics Understand the Brain' here.

Mike is Professor of Scientific Computing in the University of Oxford. After working at MIT and the Oxford University Computing Laboratory on computational fluid dynamics applied to the analysis and design of gas turbines, he moved into computational finance and research on Monte Carlo methods for a variety of applications. His research focuses on improving the accuracy, efficiency and analysis of Monte Carlo methods. He is also interested in various aspects of scientific computing, including high performance parallel computing and has been working on the exploitation of GPUs (graphics processors) for a variety of financial, scientific and engineering applications.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

John Ball wins Leonardo da Vinci Award

Oxford Mathematician John Ball has won the European Academy of Sciences Leonardo da Vinci award. The award is given annually for outstanding lifetime scientific achievement. In the words of the Committee,  "through a research career spanning more than 45 years, Professor Ball has made groundbreaking and highly significant contributions to the mathematical theory of elasticity, the calculus of variations, and the mathematical analysis of infinite-dimensional dynamical systems."

Sir John Ball FRS is Sedleian Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Centre for Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations. He is a Fellow of The Queen's College.

 

 

Friday, 2 March 2018

Oxford Mathematician Robin Wilson awarded the 2017 Stanton Medal

Oxford Mathematician Robin Wilson has been awarded the 2017 Stanton Medal. The medal is awarded every two years by the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications (ICA) for outreach activities in combinatorial mathematics.

In the words of the ICA citation, "Robin Wilson has, for fifty years, been an outstanding ambassador for graph theory to the general public.  He has lectured widely (giving some 1500 public lectures), and extended the reach of his lectures through television, radio, and videotape.  He has also published extensively on combinatorial ideas, written in a style that is engaging and accessible.  He has provided direction, encouragement, and support to colleagues and students at all levels. His superb talents at conveying the beauty of graph-theoretic ideas, and inviting his readers and listeners to join in, have enthused many students, teachers, and researchers. Professor Wilson’s advocacy and outreach for combinatorics continue to yield many positive impacts that are enjoyed by researchers and non-specialists alike."

Robin Wilson is an Emeritus Professor of Pure Mathematics at the Open University, Emeritus Professor of Geometry at Gresham College, London, and a former Fellow of Keble College, Oxford. He is the author of many books including 'Combinatorics: A Very Short Introduction', 'Four Colours Suffice: How the Map Problem Was Solved,' 'Lewis Carroll in Numberland: His Fantastical Mathematical Logical Life' and his textbook ‘Introduction to Graph Theory.’ His latest Oxford Mathematics Public Lecture on Euler's pioneering equation can be watched here.

 

Monday, 29 January 2018

Ursula Martin and Ian Griffiths awarded an MPLS Impact Award

Prof. Ursula Martin and Dr Ian Griffiths have each been awarded an MPLS Impact Award for 2017-18. The MPLS (Mathematical, Physical, Engineering and Life Sciences Division at the University of Oxford) Impact Awards scheme aims to foster and raise awareness of impact by rewarding it at a local level.

Ursula's award is for Public Engagement in connection with the 2015 celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Ada Lovelace's birth. This included exhibits at many museums (including the National Museum of  Computing, Bletchley Park, the Science Museum and the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley) as well as an issue of a children's computing magazine developed in collaboration with QMUL (Queen Mary University of London) and distributed to UK schools to encourage programming.

Ian's award is for Non-Commercial Impact, and is in recognition of his work with researchers at IIT Kharagpur on the modelling and improvement of filters to remove arsenic from water supplies in India. This work is funded by GCRF (the UK Global Challenge Research Fund) and also supported by UNICEF which is now installing community-scale filters in India. Although it falls outside the definition of the category, Ian is also working with three companies (Dyson, Gore and Pall Corporation) to improve their filters for various purposes.

These awards, which include a £1000 payment, will be presented at the MPLS Winter Reception on February 6th.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Oxford Mathematician Sarah Waters awarded a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship

Oxford Mathematician Sarah Waters has been awarded a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship commencing this month. Sarah is an applied mathematician here in Oxford. Her interest is in physiological fluid mechanics, tissue biomechanics and the application of mathematics to problems in medicine and biology. Her work varies from classical applied mathematics problems motivated by physiological applications to highly interdisciplinary work - she collaborates with life scientists, clinicians, bioengineers, theoreticians and experimentalists to develop and solve models that are novel, realistic and provide insights into biomedical problems. The resulting models often lead to theoretical predictions that can be exploited in the laboratory.

Friday, 10 November 2017

James Maynard appointed Research Professor and receives a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society

Oxford Mathematician James Maynard has been appointed Research Professor and receives a Wolfson Merit Award from the Royal Society. The Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award is a prestigious award intended to attract or retain respected scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

Professor Maynard's project, 'Structure in the primes, with applications', aims to develop techniques to understand the statistical properties of the distribution of prime numbers - a central problem in number theory. The project consists of three large projects to be investigated over a five-year period. The projects follow the common theme of studying classical problems in analytic number theory by attempting to classify counter-examples, should they exist. This approach has been remarkably successful in analytic arguments, and is an example of a common connection between analysis, combinatorics and algebra. The underlying techniques also provide flexible and universal means of answering rigorously many real-world questions about primes.

James Maynard is one of the brightest young stars in world mathematics at the moment, having made dramatic advances in analytic number theory in the years immediately following his 2013 doctorate. These advances have brought him worldwide attention in mathematics and beyond. Just 30, he has already gained many markers of distinction, including the European Mathematical Society Prize, the Ramanujan Prize and the Whitehead Prize. He will be an invited speaker at the quadrennial International Congress of Mathematicians in 2018. He also holds a Clay Research Fellowship (2013-18), the most prestigious early career position in world mathematics.

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