Wallenberg Prize 2017 to Maurice Duits

Published May 29, 2017

The prize is awarded by the Swedish Mathematical Society to promising young Swedish mathematicians.

Maurice´s research is in random matrix theory and related fields. Matrices are rectangular arrays of numbers that are used in many branches of mathematics. They play also a pivotal role in many applications of mathematics, including physics and statistics.

We call a matrix random if the numbers in the array, i.e. the elements of the matrix, are not deterministic but random. The mathematical theory of random matrices originated in the context of statistics and quantum physics and has experienced explosive growth over the last 25 years. The theory has proven very successful in mathematics, and has also led to many interesting applications.

Finding models that provide the best description of random observations is a challenge; certain patterns of random behavior have been analyzed and well understood for a long time. One example of this is the normal distribution, which very accurately describes many random phenomena in both nature and society. Similarly, probability distributions in the theory of random matrices can be applied to describe energy levels in the nuclei of heavy atoms, for example. Such distributions turn out to exhibit certain universal characteristics that are analogous to the ubiquity of the normal distribution.

One of the successes of random matrix theory is the discovery of methods that have universal characteristics, and can thus be applied to a wide range of models. One of Maurice´s main objectives is the creation and analysis of new methods for studying the properties of such random matrices.

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