Rochester mathematician wins prestigious Veblen Prize: NewsCenter


22 November 2021

Ravenel and his co-authors solved Kervaire’s invariant problem, a central problem in algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics that uses algebraic tools and techniques to determine which properties of an object remain unchanged when the object undergoes changes. shaped by stretching, twisting or bending. (Photo University of Rochester / J. Adam Fenster)


Doug Ravenel wins the American Mathematical Society Prize for solving a geometry problem that has puzzled mathematicians for 50 years.

Doug Ravenel, Fayerweather professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, received the 2022 Oswald Veblen Prize in Geometry from the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for his article “On the nonexistence of elements of Kervaire invariant one”. He shares the award with his co-authors, Michael Hill at the University of California at Los Angeles and Michael Hopkins at Harvard University.

The article introduced influential new ideas and answered a central problem in algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics that uses algebraic tools and techniques to determine which properties of an object remain unchanged when the object undergoes changes in shape by stretching, twisting or bending. for example.

“The list of past recipients of the Veblen Prize reads like an anthology of famous mathematicians,” says Steve Gonek, professor and chair of the mathematics department. “It’s a very big deal.”

“Solving Kervaire’s invariant problem has been the biggest surprise of my mathematical life,” Ravenel said in a statement to AMS. “I had heard about it in high school, like everyone in my field at the time, but I never dreamed that I would have a part in its solution. “

Considered the first international geometry prize, the Oswald Veblen geometry prize is awarded every three years for outstanding research in geometry or topology.

“The list of past Veblen Prize winners reads like a who’s who of famous mathematicians, a number of whom have also won the Fields Medal, considered the Nobel Prize in Mathematics,” said Steve Gonek, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics. Rochester. of Mathematics. “It’s a very big deal.”

Ravenel received his doctorate from Brandeis University in 1972 and arrived at the University of Rochester in 1988. He was chairman of the Rochester Mathematics Department from 1996 to 2005, during which time the department dramatically increased the number of students. maths students in Rochester.

Ravenel is the author of nearly 75 journal articles and three books on stable homotopy theory and algebraic topology, including one co-authored with Hill and Hopkins on the Kervaire invariant. In 2012, he was elected member of the AMS.

Ravenel will officially receive the Oswald Veblen Prize for Geometry at the 2022 AMS Annual Meeting on January 5.


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Key words: Arts and Sciences, Prize, Department of Mathematics, Doug Ravenel

Category: Scientific technology


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