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Geometer wins maths 'Nobel' - Abel prize awarded to Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov.
Nature News ^ | 26 March 2009 | Lucas Laursen

Posted on 03/27/2009 11:17:59 PM PDT by neverdem

A French-Russian mathematician has won the Abel Prize today for his work on advanced forms of geometry.

The winner of the 6 million Norwegian kroner (US$920,000) prize, Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov, has held a permanent appointment at the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies (IHES) outside Paris since 1982.

The Abel committee cited Gromov specifically for his contributions to three sub-disciplines of modern geometry: the study of Riemannian space, symplectic geometry, and groups of polynomial growth. Gromov is "renowned among mathematicians for his original approach", says Ian Stewart, a mathematician at the University of Warwick in Coventry.

Among other things, modern geometers study the elements of a shape that remain unchanged no matter how they look at it — the object's 'invariants'. A circle would look like an ellipse if seen from outside its plane, but characteristics such as the circle's radius in each axis would remain unchanged. Mathematicians seek descriptions, such as the length of an ellipse in each axis, that hold true from all points of view.

Certain descriptions, also known as Riemann spaces, translate geometrical information into algebraic equations and back again, and can help physicists to understand real-life systems such as the way gravity distorts space and motion near massive objects. "Einstein was able to do [general] relativity because [Bernhard] Riemann developed higher-dimension geometries," says Marcus du Sautoy, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, UK. Unlike in traditional Euclidean geometry, for example, straight lines can sometimes meet in such geometries.

The more things change Gromov introduced a more complex level of such geometric descriptions. "Rather than look at particular Riemann spaces," says du Sautoy, "he looked at the relationships between them." The creative methods he introduced have been just as influential on the field as the actual solutions, because other mathematicians have followed in Gromov's footsteps, adds Stewart.

Another area of geometry for which Gromov is well known is symplectic geometry, which Stewart calls "an abstract way of describing objects in motion, nearly indecipherable unless you are a theoretical physicist". As in the case of Riemann geometry, Gromov was able to step back and get the big picture view, says du Sautoy.

For example, a physical system such as a pendulum, has conserved properties — including its energy. In his work on symplectic geometry, Gromov found that different types of space also have unique, identifying 'invariant' characteristics.

Similarly, Gromov was able to contribute creative ideas to the branch of mathematics known as group theory, which seeks to define the possible outcomes if an object with certain symmetric properties is transformed, rotated, or otherwise moved in space.

The prize should prompt other researchers to study Gromov's work in more depth, which du Sautoy says is better known than understood in the wider scientific community.

"The thing that marks out the people who deserve these prizes," says du Sautoy, "is a new way of looking at things." Stewart agrees: "it's a well-deserved prize."

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abelprize; geometry; gromov; mathematics; stringtheory

1 posted on 03/27/2009 11:18:00 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
In mathematics, specifically in symplectic topology and algebraic geometry, Gromov–Witten (GW) invariants are rational numbers that, in certain situations, count pseudoholomorphic curves meeting prescribed conditions in a given symplectic manifold. The GW invariants may be packaged as a homology or cohomology class in an appropriate space, or as the deformed cup product of quantum cohomology. These invariants have been used to distinguish symplectic manifolds that were previously indistinguishable. They also play a crucial role in closed type IIA string theory. They are named for Mikhail Gromov and Edward Witten. - Wikipedia

"This circumstance leads us to the concept of numbers, which by their very nature are impossible, and which are commonly called imaginary numbers or fancied numbers because they exist only in our fancy or imagination." One would smile nowadays at such a sentence if it had not been written by the great EULER. - R. Remmert in NUMBERS ( Springer-Verlag )

So, ( the great ) EULER, or Gromov ?

2 posted on 03/27/2009 11:37:33 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: neverdem

I thought the Fields Medal was the Nobel of the math world?

3 posted on 03/28/2009 2:25:43 AM PDT by LifeComesFirst (Until the unborn are free, nobody is free)
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To: LifeComesFirst

Does this guy really deserve an award? On the third page of his proof, he made a simple but fatal error with X = Y - 2z/0.09 times 3 pi [sigma](x + 1, 2, 3...x) to the 34th power.

I am astonished that the judges overlooked the obvious mistake.

4 posted on 03/28/2009 3:54:11 AM PDT by heye2monn
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To: AdmSmith; bvw; callisto; ckilmer; dandelion; ganeshpuri89; gobucks; KevinDavis; Las Vegas Dave; ...
Thanks neverdem.

· Google ·

5 posted on 03/28/2009 4:32:36 AM PDT by SunkenCiv ( Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: snarks_when_bored; The_Reader_David
Like, *PING*, dudes.


6 posted on 03/28/2009 8:25:30 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: neverdem

I like geometry. But I chill, sometimes, at number theory.

7 posted on 03/28/2009 8:32:05 AM PDT by bvw
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To: grey_whiskers; SunkenCiv
Pingacks, my boys.

To paraphrase A.N. Whitehead, "Mathematicians are the unacknowledged legislators of the world."

8 posted on 03/28/2009 4:57:41 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: snarks_when_bored; wildbill

This kind of award could lead to division in society.

9 posted on 03/29/2009 4:25:43 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ( Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SunkenCiv
This kind of award could lead to division in society.

Indeed. It adds fuel to the fires of justifiable resentment, multiplying the stresses on an already over-stressed societal coping mechanism, and subtracting valuable time and resources from efforts aimed at differentiating real problems from ones so complex that they're beyond solution, and integrating all rational individuals into the collective.

10 posted on 03/30/2009 10:10:36 AM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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