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Daniel Freedman’s work on neutrino scattering is confirmed 40 years later

Daniel Freedman

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

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.

Congratulations Peter!

2017 Rogers prize split by two teams

Roger's Prize winners

The 2017 Hartley Rogers Jr. Family Prize for the best SPUR paper was awarded to two teams, to be split evenly, as decided by the faculty committee (Andrew Lawrie, George Lusztig, and Elchanan Mossel).

Justin Lim and his mentor Frederic Koehler were awarded for their “elegant analysis and presentation of spanning Maker-Breaker games.” The project, “Building Forests in Maker-Breaker Games: Upper and Lower Bounds,” was suggested by Asaf Ferber.

Jianqiao Xia and his mentor Gus Lonergan were awarded for a “penetrating study of the intersection pattern of irreducible components of Springer fibers coming from two-row partitions.” The project, “Topology of Two-Row Type Springer Fibers,” was suggested by Roman Bezrukavnikov.

Congratulations to all of the students, mentors, and faculty who provided projects, and thanks to all mentors, SPUR faculty advisors David Jerison and Ankur Moitra, SPUR+ coordinator Cris Negron, and the program director, Slava Gerovitch, along with the Rogers family for their support of this program.

ICM 2018 speakers include Tom Mrowka, Wei Zhang, Bjorn Poonen, and Alex Postnikov

Tom Mrowka Bjorn Poonen Wei Zhang 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.

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