Indian-American mathematician among three selected for the first Ciprian Foias prize

Prominent Indian-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, has been jointly shortlisted for the first Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory by the American Mathematical Society (AMS).

Along with Srivastava, the other two winners are Adam Marcus and Daniel Spielman. Adam Marcus holds the Chair of Combinatorial Analysis at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Spielman is the Sterling Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Statistics and Data Science, and Professor of Mathematics.

The prize recognizes their highly original work which introduced and developed methods for understanding the characteristic polynomial of matrices, namely the iterative sparsification method (also in collaboration with Batson) and the polynomial interleaving method, according to a press release .

“Together, these ideas have provided a powerful toolkit with many applications, most notably in the trio’s groundbreaking paper “Interlacing families II: mixed feature polynomials and the Kadison-Singer problem” (Annals of Mathematics, 2015), which solves the famous ’tiling problem’ in operator theory, formulated by Richard Kadison and Isadore Singer in 1959,” said AMS.

In a joint statement, the three winners said they wanted to accept it on behalf of the many people whose work helped solve the Kadison-Singer problem.

“Our involvement was the final chapter in an incredible story that we hope will inspire similar solutions to difficult problems in the future,” they said.

The prize will be presented to Professor Srivastava and his colleagues on January 5 next year at the 2022 Joint Mathematics Meeting in Seattle, described as “the largest mathematics gathering in the world”.

The Ciprian Foias Prize is the third major prize won by Srivastava, who previously jointly won the George Polya Prize in 2014 and the Held Prize in 2021.

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