The 2016 Prize in
Nigel J Hitchin
for his far-reaching contributions to geometry, representation theory and theoretical physics. The fundamental and elegant concepts and techniques that he has introduced have had wide impact and are of lasting importance.
The Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences 2016 is awarded to Nigel J Hitchin,Savillian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford, UK, for his far-reaching contributions to geometry, representation theory and theoretical physics. The fundamental and elegant concepts and techniques that he has introduced have had wide impact and are of lasting importance.
Geometry has long been at the core of mathematics. It has close connections to other parts of mathematics such as representation theory, which is related to the study of symmetry, to differential equations, to number theory and more recently to theoretical high energy physics.
An Essay on the Prize
From antiquity the subject of geometry has been at the centre of mathematics. The ancient Greeks were fascinated by the subject and studied it extensively, giving us Euclidean geometry. The modern view of geometry dates to the middle of the 19th century, when Gauss introduced and developed the theory of curved surfaces. He was followed by Riemann who constructed the theory of higher-dimensional curved spaces, now called Riemannian geometry. Their work began a period of flowering of geometry, and our present-day understanding of the subject emanates directly from their work.
Nigel Hitchin is one of the most influential geometers of our time. The impact of his work on geometry and on many of the allied areas of mathematics and physics is deep and lasting. On numerous occasions, he has discovered elegant and natural facets of geometry that have proven to be of central importance. His ideas have turned out to be crucial in areas of mathematics and physics, far removed from the context in which he first developed them. By exploring ignored corners of geometry, Hitchin has repeatedly uncovered jewels, many more than described below, that have changed the course of developments in geometry and related areas, and changed the way mathematicians think about these subjects.
Nigel J Hitchin
Nigel Hitchin was born in 1946 in Holbrook, Derbyshire, UK and is currently the Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford, UK. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Jesus College, Oxford University, in 1968 and his PhD in Mathematics from Wolfson College, Oxford University, in 1972. He was a Research Assistant at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA (1971–1973) and a Courant Institute Instructor in New York University (1973–1974). He returned to Oxford University in 1974 and served as a Junior Research Fellow (1974–1977) and Research Fellow (1977–1979) at Wolfson College. He became Tutor in Mathematics at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University in 1979 and was appointed Professor at the University of Warwick in 1990. He served as the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge (1994–1997) and then returned to Oxford University serving as the Savilian Professor of Geometry since 1997. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
31 May 2016 Hong Kong
"Geometry and Physics" by Professor Nigel J Hitchin