The ESI Medal 2021 goes to Elliott Lieb

Published on May 4, 2021

The Medal of the Erwin Schrödinger Institute for Mathematics and Physics for the year 2021 is awarded to Elliott Lieb, Professor Emeritus 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).

The award ceremony will take place on November 5, 2021, at the Erwin Schrödinger Institute in Vienna.

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.

Elliott Lieb is one of the founding fathers of modern mathematical physics and one of the most influential personalities worldwide within this discipline. He has made important contributions to a broad range of topics such as models of statistical mechanics, especially exactly soluble models, many-body quantum physics, including the Bose gas and Bose-Einstein condensation, inequalities for quantum entropy, the quantum theory of Coulomb systems including density functional theory and exact results on atoms and molecules, stability of matter, matter in strong magnetic fields, harmonic maps and liquid crystals, quantum electrodynamics, the second and the third law of thermodynamics, and sharp constants in fundamental inequalities of functional analysis. His list of publications presently counts around 400 items and the number of his collaborators exceeds 90. This includes many younger colleagues who have become leading scientists on their own. His work has set a gold standard in mathematical physics through its extremely high quality and has inspired generations of mathematical physicists.

Webpage of Prof. Lieb:

The Medal of the Erwin Schrödinger Institute for Mathematics and Physics

The Medal of the Erwin Schrödinger International Institute for Mathematics and Physics, or ESI Medal, awarded in 2020 for the first time, has been created to recognize outstanding achievements in any area of mathematics or physics, including contributions at the interface of the two fields.

The ESI Medal is awarded annually and emphasis is generally given to recent achievements not older than ten years. There is no age limitation for the recipient and ordinarily the ESI Medal is awarded to one person.

The recipient of the ESI Medal receives a medal, a certificate and a monetary award of 4,000 Euro.

Nominations for the ESI Medal can be made by organizers of ESI Thematic Programmes taking place in the year following the nomination deadline, former members of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the ESI, former recipients of the ESI-Medal, former Directors of the ESI and the President of the ESI Association. The recipient is selected by the Scientific Advisory Board of the ESI.

Link to the ESI Medal Website:



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