The 6th Banach Prize won by Swedish scientist

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Swede Dr. Dan Petersen from the University of Copenhagen was awarded the International Banach Prize on the 17th of September. The prestigious prize-giving ceremony took place during the inaugural Joint Meeting of the German Mathematical Society (DMV) and the Polish Mathematical Society (PTM) in the lecture hall of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.

Twenty-one dissertations from Northern as well as Central and Eastern Europe were submitted to the sixth edition of the competition organised by the Polish Mathematical Society and Ericpol.

The following authors were nominated for the Prize:

  • Maciej Dołęga (University of Wrocław),
  • Michał Goliński (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań),
  • Michał Pilipczuk (University of Bergen, Norway),
  • Dan Petersen (KTH Stockholm),
  • Ewelina Zatorska (University of Warsaw).

The award-winning doctoral dissertation is entitled “Topology of moduli spaces and operads” and was written under the direction of Professor Carel Faber at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. It contains an algebraic and geometric classification of all surfaces containing a complex structure and meeting some natural requirements.

“Year by year, the occupation of mathematician is becoming increasingly more appreciated in business, industry and many other areas of life. A mathematician is a valuable asset in many innovative companies, and, not without a reason, it has been considered the best and most profitable profession in the United States”, says Marek Gajowniczek, Ericpol’s Cross-Functional Programme Director.

This year’s prizewinner, Dan Petersen, was born in Stockholm in 1985. He studied technical physics at the Royal Institute of Technology, but during his first year of studies, he realised that mathematics was his one true passion. Having achieved a Master’s degree, Petersen began doctoral studies in mathematics under the direction of Professor Carel Faber. He obtained the title of PhD in 2013. Afterwards, he was given a year-long post-doctoral internship at ETH in Zürich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), one of the best universities in Europe, if not the world.

“Being awarded the International Banach Prize is a great honour for me. What positively distinguishes the Banach competition as opposed to other competitions of this kind is that mathematical issues which can be directly applied in industry or other disciplines of life are treated equally along with purely abstract and fundamental mathematics”, said Dan Petersen.

“This year, for the first time in history, a woman has been awarded the Fields medal – the most prestigious worldwide prize given to mathematicians, also referred to as the Noble prize for mathematics. The award was given to Professor Maryam Mirzakhani from Iran. What is interesting is that both the Fields medal winner and our prizewinner focussed in their dissertations on the area of mathematics concerning dynamics and notions deriving from the studies of the Riemannian geometry of surfaces and moduli space on these surfaces. Perhaps this coincidence will be prophetic for Dan Petersen, and in the future he will join the group of mathematicians who have been awarded the Fields medal. We all wish him such a successful career”, summed up Professor Wacław Marzantowicz, President of the Polish Mathematical Society.

Presently, Dan Petersen is on paternity leave, but in November he is starting yet another internship – this time at the University of Copenhagen where he would like to continue to develop his career as a scientist. “I am extremely happy that I can do what I love, which is mathematics”, he added.

Besides promoting and popularising mathematics, this international prize given by Ericpol is aimed at providing financial support to the most promising young scientists. Each year, the jury awards the winner a financial prize. For the first time in the history of the competition Dan Petersen received a prize of PLN 25,000 (up to now, the winners of the Banach Prize were given PLN 20,000).

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