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Simon Donaldson Receives Breakthrough Prize

Simon K. Donaldson, Professor of Mathematics in the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics (SCGP) and the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Pure Mathematics at Imperial College London, was among the recipients of the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics at ceremonies held Sunday, Nov. 9.  The star-studded ceremony was hosted by television writer and performer Seth MacFarlane.

Donaldson, a permanent member of the SCGP, was acknowledged for “the new revolutionary invariants of four-dimensional manifolds and for the study of the relation between stability in algebraic geometry and in global differential geometry, both for bundles and for Fano varieties.”

sir simon donaldson
Simon Donaldson

The Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics rewards significant discoveries across the many branches of the subject. The prize was founded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Digital Sky Technologies founder Yuri Milner and announced at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony in December 2013.  It aims to recognize major advances in the field; honor the world’s best mathematicians; support their future endeavors and communicate the excitement of mathematics to the general public.

“The Breakthrough Prize is a recognition that is well deserved for Simon Donaldson, a celebrated mathematician and visionary,” said Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. M.D., President of Stony Brook University. “It also is a mark of distinction for the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics and more generally for our Department of Mathematics, which continues to provide our students with an education of the highest order.”

“This is a great honor and my family and I are delighted; we are still adjusting to the news,” said Donaldson. “We plan to use some of the prize to help mathematics in a developing country.”

Donaldson received his B.A. in Mathematics from Pembroke College of Cambridge University in 1979 and his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1983. In 1986 he was awarded the Fields Medal for his work in the geometry and topology of 4-dimensional manifolds, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was awarded the Crafoord Prize in Mathematics in 1994 and elected a foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2000. In 2006 he was awarded the King Faisal International Prize for his work in mathematical theories linked to physics. In 2009, he was awarded the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences for his work in conjunction with Clifford H. Taubes “for their many contributions to geometry in three and four dimensions.” In 2010 he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 2012 he was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to mathematics, and elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

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