2021: Elliott Lieb

Portrait of Elliott Lieb

Elliott Hershel Lieb, born in 1932, obtained his B.S. degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1953 until 1956 he studied at the University of Birmingham in England for his Ph.D. Back in the US he held postdoctoral appointments at the University of Illinois and at Cornell University and a permanent position at IBM. He then moved on to Yeshiva University in New York, Northeastern University in Boston and to MIT again. In 1975 he became a full Professor at Princeton University.

Professor Lieb is honoured for his deep and groundbreaking mathematical analysis of fundamental problems and models of many-body physics, foremost his works of recent years, which continue to be outstanding and inspiring to a new generation of mathematical physicists. Two highlights in the realm of Coulomb systems are a mathematically rigorous justification of the Local Density Approximation in Density Functional Theory, and a proof of the equivalence in the thermodynamic limit of three different definitions of the minimum energy of a homogeneous electron gas (joint work with M. Lewin and R. Seiringer).

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2020: Anton Alekseev

Portrait of Anton Alekseev

Anton Alekseev studied at the Leningrad State University and was trained at the Steklov Mathematical Institute in St. Petersburg where he obtained his PhD in Mathematical Physics in 1991. After research positions in Zurich and Uppsala, he became full professor for mathematics at the University of Geneva in 2001.

Alekseev has worked on a wide range of topics in mathematical physics and pure mathematics including algebra and geometry, as well as mechanics and field theory. He has made seminal contributions in these disciplines, and often his work uncovers connections and unexpected links between them.

His works on the Kashiwara-Vergne conjecture on the structure of the Baker-Campbell-Hausdorff formula in Lie theory are groundbreaking. With E. Meinreken he obtained a proof in 2006, in further works with C. Torossian and others he uncovered surprising relations of this algebraic problem to the theory of Drinfeld associators and later also to the topology of 2-dimensional surfaces.

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