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The 6th edition of “The International Banach Prize” has been adjudicated

12 June 2014

The Winner of „The International Stefan Banach Prize for a Doctoral Dissertation in the Mathematical Sciences” for 2014 is a Swede – Dr Dan Petersen from the University in Copenhagen The award-winning dissertation is entitled: Topology of moduli spaces and operads and it was written under the direction of Professor Carel Faber at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It contains algebraic and geometric classification of all surfaces containing a complex structure and meeting some natural requirements.

The jury chaired by Prof. Anna Zdunik (University of Warsaw) analyzed 21 PhD dissertations written by applicants from Central – Eastern Europe (7 dissertations from Poland, 3 from Sweden, 3 from Ukraine, 2 from Norway, Slovakia and Hungary as well as 1 each from Czech Republic and Estonia), all of them achieved a very high level.
In the first stage of the competition the following entrants were nominated:

  • Maciej Dołęga (University of Wroclaw)
  • Michał Goliński (The Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan)
  • Michał Pilipczuk (University of Bergen)
  • Dan Petersen (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
  • Ewelina Zatorska (University of Warsaw)

After discussion on the merits of the scientific achievements of the five selected candidates, in a secret ballot the jury decided unanimously to award Mr. Petersen the Prize.

– This year’s prizewinner in his PhD dissertation studies the properties of transformations (appropriate deforming and glueing together) some particular classes of multidimensional surfaces called ‘Riemann surfaces’. The set of all these transformations is called moduli space of ‘Riemann surfaces’. Dr Petersen explains and describes the properties of these moduli spaces.”Tautological moduli classes” are basic properties of Riemann surface transformations – explains Prof. Grzegorz Karch (University of Wroclaw), a jury member.

He also explains that relationships among classes have been thoroughly studied for at least 30 years, partly because of the fact that the relationships in question enable the understanding of the general symmetries of some string-theoretic models. In the string theory a particle is considered not as a point (0-dimension) but a string (i.e., curve) 1-dimension. Therefore, a particle moving through space-time traces out a surface and it usually turns out to be a Riemann surface. The main result of Dr Petersen becomes a full description of these surfaces. In consequence, we are able to demonstrate that one famous hypothesis of the algebraic geometry (and of the string theory as well), called Faber hypothesis is false.

– We are very glad that the winner of the VI edition of the competition is a Scandinavian mathematician. Two years ago the International Banach Prize was won by a Hungarian working in England, one year ago it was won by a Pole on scientific placement in Norway – says Jan Smela, President of Ericpol who graduated from the University where Dr Petersen did his PhD. A positive response to our initiative in foreign scientific circles becomes an honour and a motivation to support the mathematical sciences. They need to play a more significant role in Poland and encourage all talented people to come to Poland.– Mr Smela adds.

The prestigious prize-giving ceremony is going to take place during a Joint Meeting of the German Mathematical Society (DMV) and the Polish Mathematical Society (PTM), 17-20 September 2014 in Poznan. The prizewinner will receive 25 thousand PLN, the highest Prize in the competition’s history.

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