MEDIA RELEASE — March 27, 2012

Canadian Mathematical Society

March 27, 2012


Roland Speicher to Receive CMS 2012 Jeffery-Williams Prize for Research Excellence

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce that Roland Speicher from Queen’s University is the recipient of the 2012 Jeffrey-Williams Prize, to be awarded in June at the Society’s Winter Meeting in Montreal.

The Jeffery Williams Prize was first presented in 1968 and is awarded annually to an individual who has made outstanding mathematical research contributions. The prize is named in part for former CMS President Ralph Jeffery, whose encouragement of mathematical research led to numerous advancements in Canadian mathematics. The prize is also partly named for former CMS treasurer Lloyd Williams, who was paramount in the formation of the Canadian Mathematical Congress, a predecessor to the CMS.

“Speicher is an internationally recognized expert on the combinatorial side of free probability,” said CMS President, Jacques Hurtubise, when announcing the award. “His research in this previously unexplored branch of free probability has had a great impact on the mathematical community and we are pleased to present him with this award.”

Free probability is an area of operator algebra theory that stems from the work of mathematician Dan-Virgil Voiculescu. Through his focus on the combinatorial side of free probability, Speicher has helped reveal key links between several areas of mathematics. These linkages have, in turn, led to the resolution of several mathematical problems that have long been in question. Speicher has received many prestigious awards for his research, such as the Leadership Support Initiative and the Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award.

Speicher began studying mathematics and physics in Germany at the Universities of Saarbrücken, Freiburg and Heidelberg. In 1989, he graduated from the University of Heidelberg with a Ph.D. in mathematics. Throughout his career, Speicher has travelled all over the world, both as a scholar and as a professor. Speicher moved to Canada in 2000 and is currently a full time professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, from where he has managed to develop a strong community dedicated to researching free probability theory.

For more information, please contact:

Jessica St-James
Communications and Special Projects Officer
Canadian Mathematical Society
(613) 722-2662 ext. 728
or Lia Bronsard
Chair, CMS Research Committee
McMaster University
905-525-9140 ext. 23418

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

The CMS is the national mathematics organization whose goal is to promote the advancement, discovery, learning, and application of mathematics. The Society's activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics education at all levels. The CMS annually sponsors mathematics awards and prizes that recognize outstanding mathematical achievements.