Krzysztof Gawędzki, Antti Kupiainen Share 2022 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics

WASHINGTON, November 24, 2021 — The American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society announce Krzysztof Gawędzki and Antti Kupiainen as the recipients of the 2022 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics. The prize is awarded annually by AIP and APS to recognize significant contributions to the field of mathematical physics.

“This award is honoring the work we did together in the 1980s and 1990s,” said Kupiainen, a Finnish professor of mathematics at the University of Helsinki. “This was a very fruitful and inspiring collaboration that meant a lot to me then and formed the basis also for my later career. Therefore, I am particularly happy of being awarded a prize for it.”

Gawędzki, a Polish mathematical physicist at École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, and Kupiainen worked together to develop rigorous renormalization group methods for quantum field theory and statistical physics and made seminal contributions to conformal field theory and the Wess-Zumino-Witten-Novikov models. Later in the ’90s, they described and quantified anomalous scaling behavior in the turbulent advection of a scalar field.

“We are thrilled to announce the selection of Krzysztof Gawędzki and Antti Kupiainen as this year’s winners of the 2022 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics,” said Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP. “Their work together on constructive quantum field theory and statistical mechanics energized the field, opening the door for further work into nonequilibrium statistical mechanics and turbulent flow problems in hydrodynamic models.”

The citation on their award reads: “for fundamental contributions to quantum field theory, statistical mechanics, and fluid dynamics using geometric, probabilistic, and renormalization group ideas.” The prize will be presented at either the APS March Meeting in Chicago or the APS April Meeting in New York City.

Gawędzki was born in Żarki, Poland, received his doctorate degree from the University of Warsaw in 1971, and continued as a researcher at the Department of Mathematical Methods in Physics in Warsaw. The martial law in Poland in 1981 forced him to emigrate, and he was invited first to the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHES), where he stayed until 1999 and then to the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, where he is currently a professor emeritus.

Kupiainen was born in Varkaus, Finland, and received his doctorate degree from Princeton University in 1979. After postdoctoral work at Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and IHES, he was appointed professor of mathematics in 1988 at Rutgers University and in 1991 at the University of Helsinki, where he is currently serving.

In the beginning of the ’80s, Gawędzki and Kupiainen began their collaboration into the mathematical foundations of quantum field theory, which had been actively pursued by mathematical physicists. They arrived at a good understanding of so-called super-renormalizable theories that had been achieved by the pioneering work of James Glimm, Arthur Jaffe, Tom Spencer, Barry Simon, and many others. However, the theories of high-energy physics were not super-renormalizable, and the existing techniques were not sufficient to understand them.

The duo turned to the renormalization group method used in physics to study phase transitions, and they developed it into a tool for mathematically rigorous analysis of quantum field theory and statistical mechanics, in particular to construct certain renormalizable theories.

“Renormalization group is now a standard tool in mathematical physics, and I think our work had a role in making this happen,” Kupiainen said.

In their later collaborations in the ’90s, Gawędzki and Kupiainen noticed that certain questions related to turbulence were ripe for an analysis using techniques from quantum field theory. These problems dealt with advection of a passive scalar quantity like temperature or pollutant concentration by a turbulent flow.

They succeeded in showing by using quantum field theory methods that the statistics of the scalar show intermittent behavior and deviate from a Kolmogorov-type of scaling theory. This was the first such result in a turbulent system and influenced the way people thought about intermittency in standard fluid turbulence.

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ABOUT THE HEINEMAN PRIZE

The Heineman Prize is named after Dannie N. Heineman, an engineer, business executive, and philanthropic sponsor of the sciences. The prize was established in 1959 by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Education, Charitable and Scientific Purposes, Inc. The prize will be presented by AIP and APS on behalf of the Heineman Foundation at a future APS meeting. A special ceremonial session will be held during the meeting, when Gawędzki and Kupiainen will receive the $10,000 prize. http://www.aps.org/programs/honors/prizes/heineman.cfm

ABOUT AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies. AIP pursues its mission — to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity — with a unifying voice of strength from diversity. In its role as a federation, AIP advances the success of its Member Societies by providing the means to pool, coordinate, and leverage their diverse expertise and contributions in pursuit of a shared goal of advancing the physical sciences in the research enterprise, in the economy, in education, and in society. In its role as an institute, AIP operates as a center of excellence using policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences.

ABOUT AMERICAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY

The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world. https://www.aps.org/

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