- Erica Klarreich at Quanta magazine has a wonderful profile of Peter Scholze. Scholze has been busy revolutionizing various parts of arithmetic geometry in recent years, and the article does a good job of giving some of the flavor of this. I noticed this morning that Scholze has a new preprint out, about a q-deformation of de Rham cohomology, so that may be the latest, hottest news in the subject.
The new paper was written for the occasion of his acceptance of the 2015 Fermat Prize. Another Quanta piece makes the obvious point that we already know who one winner of the 2018 Fields Medal will be. While Scholze has been awarded a fair number of prizes already, it’s interesting that he’s not universally in favor of the prize phenomenon: see here for some discussion of his decision last year to turn down one of the 2016 Breakthrough Prizes.
- In addition to being a great mathematician, Scholze also seems to be a fine human being. The AMS Notices this week has an interview with another such mathematician, Robert Bryant, who is now the AMS President, recently head of MSRI. Unlike Scholze, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Bryant a little bit, since he was a visitor one semester here at Columbia. The Notices article explains his interesting background, which is somewhat unusual for an academic mathematician. The math community is lucky to have leading figures like him combining mathematical talent and excellent personal qualities.
I first heard about him back when I was a post-doc at Stony Brook, trying to learn more about mathematics and the math community. At some point I asked Claude LeBrun (a young geometer then, now an older one, with a conference in his honor next week in Montreal) who he thought the best young geometers were. He told me about Robert Bryant, and when I asked “why him?”, his answer was “He’s read and understood all of Cartan”. I wasn’t sure whether to take that seriously, but from the AMS interview, he was quite right about that.
- For one last piece of mathematics news, fans of geometric Langlands may want to take a look at the new preprint by David Ben-Zvi and David Nadler on a Betti form of geometric Langlands.
- Turning to physics, last week UCLA announced a $11 million donation to fund a Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCLA. As NSF funding for theoretical physics stays flat or declines, at least in the US it is private funding like this that is becoming much more important.
- At CERN the LHC has reached design luminosity, and is breaking records with a fast pace of new collisions. This may have something to do with the report that the LHC is also about to tear open a portal to another dimension. Not clear why people are worrying about the 750 GeV state with this going on.
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