Fefferman and Le Gall, BBVA Give Awards to Their Influential Athletes | to know

The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge in Basic Sciences honors the “fundamental contributions” of Professors Charles Feverman, of Princeton University, and Jean-François Le Gall, of Université Paris-Saclay, in two fields of mathematics with many branches.

According to the jury’s minutes, the winners “opened new horizons in mathematical analysis and probability theory, with a tremendous impact on an entire generation of mathematicians.”

Both “have provided powerful analysis techniques for solving mathematical problems with a long history, some of which are motivated by fundamental questions in theoretical physics.”

Professor Fefferman is considered one of the most versatile mathematicians today. He attended the University of Maryland (USA) when he was only 14 years old and published his first work a year later; In 1971, at the age of 22, he became the youngest professor in the United States.

Part of his extensive career has a close relationship with Spain and specifically with the Mathematical School of the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM), which began when the Spaniard Antonio Cordoba, currently Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Analysis at UAM, moved to Chicago to be his first doctoral student.

Córdoba, one of the five candidates who promoted his candidacy, collecting a note from the foundation, says Fefferman “is distinguished by its versatility.”

“It is natural for a mathematician to make fundamental contributions in one or two areas; Fewerman made it in harmonic analysis, in partial differential equations, in problems of quantum mechanics and also in the field of fluid mechanics, where he made a key finding that opened a path to understanding turbulence.”

In his interview after learning of the ruling, Fefferman noted that jumping between zones is normal for him: “I have the feeling that I do not choose problems, but they choose me.”

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This scientist conducted a long research in Spain, supervised the doctoral thesis of seven mathematicians from our country and collaborated with dozens of them.

His research with the group led by Diego Cordoba – son of Antonio Cordoba – at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (Madrid) succeeded in describing mathematically how waves break down, and thus proving that, as expected – and as anyone can notice, because waves break -, in fluid motion, Phenomena called singularities are produced – which correspond to ‘splash’ of the wave-

The result is important because it validates the model that physicists use to describe the phenomenon.

He is 73 years old, and he continues to investigate; Now he is working to mathematically define the peculiar physical properties of new 2D materials.

For his part, Le Gall made fundamental contributions to probability theory and an important part of his work is driven by physical models that attempt to explain the quantum world at the atomic scale and at the time of the creation of the universe.

Emmanuel Royer, deputy scientific director of the National Institute of Mathematical Sciences and their Interactions (CNRS, France), the institution that nominated him, wrote that Le Gall has “profoundly changed the field of probability theory”.

For University of Barcelona Professor Marta Sanz Sulli, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Barcelona, ​​who is also a probabilistic researcher, their contributions are “really crucial, because they in turn generated new research on their findings”.

His first work focused on the mathematical Brownian motion. This field goes back to Albert Einstein, who succeeded in explaining the random motion of pollen grains floating in water as a result of the vibration of fluid molecules, proving that atoms and molecules do exist.

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In the past fifteen years, he has established a new branch of probability theory based on the investigation of so-called “Brownian fields”; Physicists created these spheres as a model for quantum gravity theory, and according to Le Gall, “My contribution was to make this model rigorous.”

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