Professor Dennis Sullivan Receives Balzan Prize, 2014


Dennis SullivanDennis Sullivan has been awarded the 2014 Balzan Prize. He is honored "for his major contributions to topology and the theory of dynamical systems, opening new perspectives for generations to come [and for] his exceptional results in many fields of mathematics, such as geometry, the theory of Kleinian groups, analysis and number theory." Sullivan's early work was in homotopy theory and surgery, to which he brought a new, geometric point of view. His geometric insights led to the solution of many important problems on the topology of manifolds, such as the Adams conjecture and the Hauptvermutung. His theory of real and rational homotopy types, based on differential forms, has had profound applications, for example, to the topology of complex algebraic varieties and in Riemannian geometry. Sullivan has made important contributions to the study of foliations and dynamical systems. He has also proved foundational results on quasi-conformal and Lipschitz manifolds, categories that are intermediate between the topological and smooth ones. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was responsible for the emergence of the field of conformal dynamics as a lively and important branch of mathematics straddling the traditional borders between pure and applied areas. In recent years, he launched the field of string topology, which is of great importance in symplectic topology.

Sullivan received his Ph.D. from Princeton University (1965), under the direction of William Browder. He has held positions at Princeton, MIT, and the IHES in Paris. Currently he holds the Einstein Chair at the City University of New York and is a professor of mathematics at Stony Brook University. His honors include the AMS Veblen Prize in Geometry (1971), the AMS Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2006), the U.S. National Medal of Science (2005), and the Wolf Prize (2010). The International Balzan Prize Foundation presents the prize of 750,000 Swiss Francs (US$800,000) each year (though not every year in mathematics). Also receiving the prize in 2014 is Ian Hacking, a philosopher who has written about the philosophy of mathematics, including in his latest book, Why Is There Philosophy of Mathematics At All? (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

 Source AMS


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