Scott Sheffield Wins Clay Research Award
The Clay Mathematics Institute presented Jason Miller and Scott Sheffield with the 2017 Clay Research Award, for their groundbreaking and conceptually novel work on the geometry of the Gaussian free field and its application to the solution of open problems in the theory of two-dimensional random structures. The award is "in recognition of their introduction of a novel geometric combinatorial method to study doubling properties of solutions to elliptic eigenvalue problems” (full citation). Scott Sheffield holds the Leighton Family Chair in Mathematics at MIT since July 2017. Jason Miller is at the University of Cambridge, and was a Schramm Fellow and an NSF Fellow at MIT under Scott’s mentorship. For those who missed it, Quanta magazine recently wrote about their research in “A Unified Theory of Randomness.”
Daniel Freedman’s work on neutrino scattering is confirmed 40 years later
Before his arrival at MIT, Daniel Freedman wrote "Coherent Effects of a Weak Neutral Current," which appeared in the 1974 issue of Physical Review. His paper proposed the process called coherent elastic neutrino-nucleus scattering, specifically pointing out that it had a much larger strength than other neutrino reactions.
Dan, a theoretical physicist emeritus in the Applied Mathematics division, recently received a pleasant surprise—more than 40 years later. “I received a message from the head of an experimental collaboration of about 80 physicists telling me that the experiment had finally been realized and confirmed my prediction.”
The results of their research were detailed in an article in the latest SCIENCE magazine, “Milk jug–sized detector captures neutrinos in a whole new way.” In the article, the team describes using a device the size of a milk jug in order to observe the neutrinos scattering off atomic nuclei. This development may lead to portable neutrino detectors at nuclear facilities.
Peter Shor awarded 2017 Dirac Medal
Peter Shor received the 2017 Dirac Medal from the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, along with Charles Bennett of IBM and David Deutsch of Oxford. Peter was recognized for his groundbreaking work in quantum computation, including his quantum factoring algorithm, quantum error-correcting codes, and quantum fault-tolerant computation. The award was announced on August 8, the 115th anniversary of Paul Dirac’s birth. Earlier recipients of the medal include Emeritus Professor Dan Freedman and several MIT physicists.
ICM 2018 speakers include Tom Mrowka, Wei Zhang, Bjorn Poonen, and Alex Postnikov
Tom Mrowka will deliver a plenary address at the International Congress of Mathematicians 2018, which will be held August 1-9, 2018, in Rio de Janeiro.
Other MIT math faculty invited to speak at ICM 2018 include Bjorn Poonen and our new full professor Wei Zhang in the Number Theory section; and Alex Postnikov in the Combinatorics section. Meeting every four years, ICM is where the Fields medals are awarded.