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Henry Cohn Receives Conant Prize

Henry Cohn

Adjunct Professor Henry Cohn received the 2018 Levi L. Conant Prize from the American Mathematical Society at the Joint Math Meeting for his article "A Conceptual Breakthrough in Sphere Packing," published in the February 2017 issue of the Notices of the AMS. Henry is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, and his research interests include discrete mathematics, broadly interpreted. Professor David Vogan received the Levi L. Conant Prize in 2011.

“It's a pleasure and an honor to receive the 2018 Levi L. Conant Prize,” said Henry. “The /E/_8 and Leech lattices are fascinating objects, and I hope readers will grow to love them as much as I do.”

Describing Henry’s award, the AMS announcement stated: “In 2016, Maryna Viazovska gave an astounding solution to the sphere packing problem in dimension 8. Just a week later, (Abhinav) Kumar, (Stephen D.) Miller, (Danylo) Radchenko, and Viazovska solved the sphere packing problem in dimension 24 by similar ideas. Cohn's article unfolds the dramatic story behind these proofs. What is special about 8 and 24 that makes the proof work only in these dimensions? The answer is that there are truly extraordinary sphere packings in these dimensions, arising from the /E/_8 lattice in dimension 8 that appears in Lie theory, and the Leech lattice in dimension 24 that is so closely connected with finite simple sporadic groups.”

Congratulations, Henry!

Michael Sipser Named ACM Fellow

Mike Sipser

School of Science Dean Michael Sipser was among four MIT faculty named Association for Computer Machinery 2017 Fellows for making “landmark contributions to computing.”

Sipser has made numerous contributions to complexity theory, and in particular on circuit complexity, multi-interactive proof systems, the use of expanders, and quantum computing.

He will be recognized at the ACM’s annual awards banquet June 23, 2018, in San Francisco, California.

A member of CSAIL and the Donner Professor of Mathematics, Mike received the MIT Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellowship in 2016 in recognition of his commitment to undergraduate education. He also received the Irwin Sizer Award from the MIT Graduate School Council for the development with Professor Tom Leighton of the 18C major Mathematics with Computer Science. Mike is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Mathematical Society.

Congratulations Mike!

Wei Zhang and Zhiwei Yun Awarded 2018 New Horizons in Mathematics Breakthrough Prize

Urschel, Yun, Zhang and Goemans

Professors Wei Zhang and Zhiwei Yun have been awarded the New Horizons in Mathematics Breakthrough Prize, which is given to promising junior researchers who have already produced important work in mathematics. The team of Wei and Zhiwei were recognized Sunday “for deep work on the global Gan-Gross-Prasad conjecture and their discovery of geometric interpretations for the higher derivatives of L-functions in the function field case.” Zhiwei, currently a professor at Yale University, will be joining the Department of Mathematics next month. “I am delighted that the joint work of these two recently hired faculty members is being recognized by this prestigious award,” said Interim Department Head Michel Goemans, who attended the ceremony. “Their work on the Taylor expansion of L-functions constitutes the most important progress in 30 years towards the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, one of the seven Clay Millenium problems.”

Applied Mathematics doctoral candidate and former NFL player John Urschel was a presenter at the ceremony, which was held at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.

Larry Guth won the 2016 New Horizons in Mathematics prize for “ingenious and surprising solutions to longstanding open problems in symplectic geometry, Riemannian geometry, harmonic analysis, and combinatorial geometry.”

James Munkres Named AMS Fellow

James Munkres

Congratulations to Professor Emeritus James R. Munkres, who was named a Fellow by the American Mathematical Society. He was honored for contributions to algebraic topology, and for exposition.

Congratulations James!

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