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Aperiodical News Round-up – September 2020

Here’s a round-up of some mathematical news stories from this month.

European Women in Mathematics shares COVID-19 Open Letter

European Women in Mathematics, an international association of women working in mathematics in Europe, has written an open letter encouraging universities and institutions to take action to lessen the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic on women in mathematics. Advocating a flexible approach in these uncertain times, the letter seeks signatures from anyone who supports their aim – to ‘shape smart policy to recruit and retain a diverse group of talented young scientists.’

EWM Open Letter

Breakthrough Prizes in Mathematics

The Breakthrough Prizes (if you’d forgotten, those are the ones founded and awarded by a collection of incredibly rich people to recognise achievements in maths and science by giving people ludicrous piles of money) for 2021 have been announced. Mathematician and Fields medalist Martin Hairer has been awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, which comes with a cash gift of $3m and a nice trophy, for his “transformative contributions to the theory of stochastic analysis, particularly the theory of regularity structures in stochastic partial differential equations”.

The board also awards six New Horizons Prizes of $100,000 to early career researchers in maths and physics. The maths winners this year were Bhargav Bhatt of the University of Michigan, Aleksandr Logunov from Princeton University and Song Sun of UC Berkeley, who are working in areas including algebra and geometry.

From this year Breakthrough are also awarding three Maryam Mirzakhani New Frontiers prizes of $50,000 to women mathematicians for early-career achievements, which went to Nina Holden of ETH Zurich, Urmila Mahadev at Caltech and Lisa Piccirillo from MIT, for work in geometry, quantum computing and knot theory.

Winners of the 2021 Breakthrough Prizes in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics Announced, on the Breakthrough website

Four from MIT awarded 2021 New Horizons in Physics and New Frontiers in Mathematics prizes, on the MIT News website

John Barrow has died

Mathematician, cosmologist and theoretical physicist John Barrow passed away this month from colon cancer. As well as a distinguished research career, publishing more than 500 journal articles, he worked extensively in communicating maths, through lectureships, public talks – including at 10 Downing Street, Windsor Castle and the Vatican – a long list of popular maths and astrophysics books, and his work with the MMP. He was recognised for this work with, among many other honours, the IMA’s Zeeman Medal and the Royal Society’s Faraday Prize.

Seeking your favourite Ron Graham quotes

The late Ron Graham, who passed away in July, was a fountain of mathematical wisdom. His widow, Fan Chung, is looking to collect some of these – if you know of any that have inspired you, add them to this thread.

Vicky Neale has a book out soon

Mathematician and author Vicky Neale is following up her brilliant book Closing the Gap: the quest to understand prime numbers with a second, Why Study Mathematics?. Aimed at students considering a maths degree, it gives an insight into what’s involved in a maths degree and why it’s a useful thing to have. It’s available to preorder now on the LPP website.

Mathemalchemy Exhibition to proceed in 2021

Mathemalchemy is a mathematical art collaboration between a group of 23 mathematicians/artists, as outlined in this teaser video:

The brainchild of mathematician Ingrid Daubechies and fibre artist Dominique Ehrmann, the project was planned to take place this year, but due to COVID, workshops planned in March and August were cancelled. The project will still go ahead, with plans for a physical installation at the end of the summer of 2021.

Mathemalchemy website

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