Welcome to the Toronto Math News Blog.

Here you will find news stories and information relevant to the Department of Mathematics.  We have stories on events, awards, community participation, achievements of our faculty, staff, students and alumni, and much more.

If you have a story to tell please let us know at webmaster@math.utoronto.ca

Please note: we have recently added our archived stories to the new blog format and apologize for any date errors.  We have attempted to preserve the original story dates where possible.

Joel Kamnitzer awarded a 2018 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship

The Department is proud to announce that Professor Joel Kamnitzer is one of the winners of the 2018 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship. NSERC awards up to six E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships annually to enhance the career development of outstanding and highly promising scientists and engineers who are faculty members of Canadian universities.

Joel’s achievement is also featured in a U of T news article: https://www.utoronto.ca/news/u-t-researchers-win-prestigious-nserc-awards

U of T’s team of students place 4th in the 2017 Putnam Competition!

U of T’s team (hosted by our department) did well in the 2017 Putnam Competition coming in 4th place. The team consisted of three undergraduate students: Michael Chow, Itai Bar-Natan, and Dmitry Paramonov.

Michael Chow (4th year student) placed in the top 25. Itai Bar-Natan (4th year student) received honourable mention, placing in the top 100. Dmitry Paramonov (3rd year student) placed in the top 200.

The Putnam Competition is a mathematical competition open to undergraduate students across Canada and the United States. It is held annually since 1938 and is written in December. Teams consist of three members that represent the institution, although additional undergraduate students can participate. Over 4,500 students from 575 institutions participated this December with 47 students coming from U of T.

Several students from U of T also placed well including: Lexiao Lai (exchange student) making the top 200; Rafael Aznar (3rd year student), Adrian Carpenter (1st year student), Anthony Moshe Roitman (1st year student) making the top 500.

Since the fall, students have been training diligently under the guidance of two faculty members: Bernardo Galvao-Sousa and Alfonso Gracia-Saz. The Department of Mathematics extends congratulations to the team and thanks Bernardo and Alfonso and all participants for their efforts!

The link to our department’s webpage on Putnam can be found here.
More information of the Putnam Competition can be found here.
The announcement of 2017’s winners can be found here.

Three faculty, Haslhofer, Shankar, and Tiozzo awarded 2018 Sloan Research Fellowships

The department is pleased to announce that three of our faculty, Robert Haslhofer, Arul Shankar, and Giulio Tiozzo are recipients of the 2018 Research Sloan Fellowships!

The fellowships are awarded annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. More information about the Sloan Research Fellowships can be found here. The full list of this year’s Sloan Fellows can be found here.

Jeremy Quastel Wins the 2018 CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize

The Department is proud to announce that Professor Jeremy Quastel has been awarded the 2018 CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize

The official Fields Press Release follows:


Jeremy Quastel is widely recognized as one of the top probabilists in the world, having made major advances in the fields of hydrodynamic theory, stochastic partial differential equations, and integrable probability. He is particularly recognized for a series of ground-breaking works during the last ten years related to the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang (KPZ) equation and the wider class of random growth models conjectured to share the same long-time, large-scale limit (the so-called KPZ universality class). He proved a 25 year old conjecture from physics about the scaling exponents for the KPZ equation, as well as computing an exact formula for its one-point distribution. He demonstrated that the KPZ equation is universal in that it arises as a scaling limit of a wide variety of non-linear stochastic partial differential equations of Hamilton-Jacobi type. Most recently, he constructed and computed transition probabilities for the ‘KPZ fixed point’ Markov process, which should be the universal long-time limit of all models in the KPZ universality class. Among his earlier contributions, Quastel derived the incompressible Navier-Stokes equation from a class of interacting particle systems, derived equations for the behaviour of the internal diffusion-limited-aggregation model, and proved a conjecture about the speed of the traveling front for the stochastic Fisher-Kolmogorov–Petrovsky–Piskunov equation, which models branching diffusion processes.

For the profound impact of his work, Quastel has been recognized as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2016), and was the recipient of a Killam Research Fellowship (2013). He delivered an invited address at the 2010 International Congress of Mathematicians in Hyderabad India.

Jeremy Quastel received his Ph.D. from the Courant Institute in 1990. After six years at the University of California, Davis, he moved to his present position at the University of Toronto in 1998.

Source: http://www.fields.utoronto.ca/news/Jeremy-Quastel-Wins-2018-CRM-Fields-PIMS-Prize

In Memoriam: Professor Ragnar-Olaf Buchweitz

Image It was with great sadness that we received the news of the death of Ragnar-Olaf Buchweitz, on November 11, 2017.

Ragnar was born on March 18, 1952, in Neuruppin, Germany. He attended the University of Hannover in 1969, where he received a diplom in 1972 and earned his PhD in 1976. He did a thèse d’état in 1981 at the University Paris VII and obtained a habilitation in 1982, in Hannover. He became professor at the University of Toronto in 1987, where he transmitted his passion for mathematics for 30 years.

Ragnar never lost the excitement for solving mathematical problems. In fact, he would always bring people together to stimulate fruitful and interesting discussions. He had a vast scope of knowledge in algebraic geometry, commutative algebra and representation theory, and had research collaborations with a large number of mathematicians, creating important bridges between the different fields.

Communication was very important to him, as shown by his enlightening teaching, writing and presentations. A master piece was his 155 page manuscript “Maximal Cohen-Macaulay modules and Tate-cohomology over Gorenstein rings” which never got published.  He would always present ideas by telling their story and by giving an idea of the big picture, which would make them even more appealing. He was a great mentor, and eager to provide useful guidance and help to anyone who would need it.

In addition to his contributions to mathematics, Ragnar was a highly respected academic administrator.  He served as acting chair of the Department of Mathematics, and he was the founding chair of the Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus (UTSC), where he also served as Dean from 2004 to 2009.

He will be missed by his friends and colleagues.

Our thoughts go to his wife Ruth and his son Ingmar-Olaf.

Written by: Vassos Hadzilacos, Henning Krause, Idun Reiten and Louis-Philippe Thibault

Three Faculty to speak at 2018 International Congress of Mathematics in Rio de Janiero

Three of our faculty members have been invited to speak at the 2018 International Congress of Mathematics (ICM) in Rio de Janiero, Brazil:

* Konstantin Khanin will speak in the research area of Dynamical Systems and ODEs joint with Mathematical Physics
* Benjamin Rossman will speak in the research area of Mathematical Aspects of Computer Science
* Jacob Tsimerman will speak in the research area of Number Theory.

The conference will be held August 1-9, 2018.  More info on the event can be found here.

For a full list of speakers to the event, see here.

New Royal Society Fellow – Robert Jerrard

The department is proud to announce that Professor Robert Jerrard has been added as a new member of the Royal Society of Canada in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

The full announcement can be read here: