Fields Medal for a mathematician from the University of Geneva

Expert in probabilities and passionate about physics, Hugo Duminil-Copin joined

Expert in probabilities and passionate about physics, Hugo Duminil-Copin joined the UNIGE in 2008. He was appointed professor in 2013 and full professor in 2014. Fabien Scotti

Hugo Duminil-Copin, ordinary professor at the Mathematics Section of the University of Geneva, receives the prestigious Fields Medal. The Lake Geneva region is doubly rewarded: at the EPFL, Maryna Viazovska is also awarded a medal.

Hugo Duminil-Copin, 36 years old, ordinary professor at the University of Geneva, was awarded the Fields Medal on Tuesday, July 5 in Helsinki. Awarded during the International Congress of Mathematicians, this prestigious prize is considered as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. It recognizes the exceptional quality of the work of this researcher in statistical physics, who is also a permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (Paris). A second Fields Medal has been awarded to Maryna Viazovska, full professor and holder of the Chair of Arithmetic at the EPFL (Lausanne), as a testimony to the excellence of research in the Lake Geneva region.

Awarded every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians, the Fields Medal is one of the highest distinctions in mathematics. It was awarded on Tuesday, July 5, in Helsinki, to Hugo Duminil-Copin, 36 years old, full professor at the Mathematics Section of the Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva and permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Politiques de Geneva. of Sciences at the University of Geneva and permanent professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES, a founding member of the Université Paris-Saclay).

It is an honor and a great pride for me to receive this Fields Medal," says Hugo Duminil-Copin. I would like to share it with all my colleagues, since mathematics is above all a collaborative process. I am also aware of the great responsibility that such an award implies, by propelling the laureates to the rank of ambassadors of the discipline.

This is the fourth time that a professor or former student of the University of Geneva has received the Fields Medal, after Vaughan Jones in 1990, Stanislav Smirnov in 2010 and Martin Hairer in 2014. This is a great recognition for our institution as well as for the Swiss academic community as a whole," said Yves Flückiger, Rector of the University of Geneva and President of swissuniversities. This distinction proves our ability to attract young talent and to create the conditions necessary for the success of their research. This attractiveness, like our presence in international networks, is essential and must be preserved.

The Arc lémanique is doubly rewarded since at EPFL (Lausanne), Maryna Viazovska, full professor and holder of the Chair of Arithmetic, is also a medalist. Hugo Duminil-Copin and Maryna Viazovska are both members of the NCCR SwissMAP. Two other laureates should be mentioned: June Huh from Princeton University and James Maynard from Oxford University.

interested in physics and probabilities

Hugo Duminil-Copin, an expert in probability and a physics enthusiast, works on the mathematical branch of statistical physics. He studies phase transitions - sudden changes in the properties of matter, such as the transition from the gaseous to the liquid state of water - using probability theory. The latter are used in particular to analyze mathematical models describing three distinct phenomena material porosity (via percolation theory), ferromagnetism (via the Ising model), and polymers (via the study of self-evident walks).

In the first case, it is a question of understanding the mechanisms at work in materials such as pumice or coffee (what path does water take when it passes through such a material, for example?) In the second, to determine the behavior of magnets, more precisely the progressive loss of their magnetism, when they are subjected to high temperatures. In the third one, the aim is to understand the positioning of polymers when they are immersed in a solvent.

By using new connections between these models, and by developing a theory of dependent percolation, Hugo Duminil-Copin has obtained transformative results on these classical models, improving our understanding of critical phenomena in statistical physics. This is purely fundamental research, with no direct application. Nevertheless, mathematically modeling phase transitions remains very important: it allows us to better understand the behavior of matter. These are solid foundations that can be used for applied research in view of industrial developments that are still impossible to predict’, enthuses the researcher.

Professor at the University of Geneva at 28 years old

Born on August 26, 1985 in Châtenay-Malabry (France), Hugo Duminil-Copin grew up in the Paris region. He entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris in 2005. He holds a master’s degree in probability and statistics from the University of Paris-Saclay (formerly Université Paris-Sud).He joined the University of Geneva in 2008 to complete his doctoral thesis, which he obtained in 2011, under the supervision of Stanislav Smirnov, Fields Medalist in 2010.

The University of Geneva appointed him professor in 2013 and then full professor in 2014, at only 29 years old. In parallel, he joined the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in Bures-Sur-Yvette (Paris) in 2016. He has been distinguished by numerous awards, including the European Mathematical Society Award and the New Horizons in Mathematics Award of the Breakthrough Foundation.

The Lake Geneva region at the forefront of fundamental research

While the awarding of a Fields Medal to Hugo Duminil-Copin and Maryna Viazovska rewards the exceptional quality of their work, it also confirms the excellence of research and teaching in the institutions of the Lake Geneva region and the importance of their collaborations, which has already been demonstrated by projects such as the Swiss Cancer Center Léman and the Dubochet Imaging Center.It also confirms the excellence of the research and teaching in the institutions of the Lake Geneva region and the importance of their collaborations, which have already resulted in projects such as the Swiss Cancer Center Léman and the Dubochet Imaging Center. These distinctions reinforce the positioning of the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and more broadly of Switzerland, on the world map of advanced fundamental research.

About the Fields Medal

Created by the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields (1863-1932), the Fields Medal has been awarded every four years since 1936, with a maximum of four winners per edition. It can only be awarded to mathematicians under the age of 40. The Fields Medal Committee is selected by the Executive Committee of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). It is usually chaired by the president of the IMU (currently, the Argentine-American Carlos E. Kenig). The Medal Committee must select a minimum of two laureates representing various fields of the discipline to receive a medal and $15,000 Canadian dollars.


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