MEDIA RELEASE — April 15, 2013

Canadian Mathematical Society

April 15, 2013


Chantal David to receive CMS 2013 Krieger-Nelson prize

Dr. Chantal David (Concordia University)

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Chantal David (Concordia University) is the recipient of the 2013 Krieger-Nelson Prize. The prize will be awarded in June at the Society’s Summer Meeting in Halifax.

The CMS Krieger-Nelson Prize was first awarded in 1995 to recognize female mathematicians who have made outstanding contributions in the area of mathematical research. The Krieger-Nelson Prize is jointly named for Cecelia Krieger and Evelyn Nelson – two women who have had a profound impact in the area of mathematical research in Canada.

“Chantal David’s contributions to the field of number theory in Canada are extensive,” said Lia Bronsard, Chair of the CMS Research Committee. “She combines methods from algebraic and analytic number theory as well as from random matrix theory to shed light in the areas of number theory and arithmetic statistics.”

One of David's best known paper is her collaboration with Francesco Pappalardi in 1999. Their paper discussed the Lang-Trotter conjecture and proved that, in most cases, the conjecture holds true. Their research, and the type of calculation used to prove their work, has been the inspiration for much follow-up research.

Aside from her personal research, David continues to take an active role in the mathematical community and helps promote the research of others. “David offers the unusual combination of being skilled in both research and in the organization and facilitation of the research activities of others,” said William Duke (UCLA).

David obtained her PhD from McGill University in 1993 under the supervision of Ram Murty. In the same year, David joined the faculty of mathematics at Concordia University where she now holds a position as a Full Professor of mathematics. In 2004, David became the Deputy Director at the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM). She has given lectures on her work all over the world, including plenary talks at prestigious international conferences.


Chantal David's work focuses on understanding distribution questions associated to arithmetic objects such as elliptic curves, abelian varieties and families of curves over finite fields. Typical questions of arithmetic statistics are: What does the class group of a random quadratic field look like? Or, in general, what is the probability that an arithmetic group, randomly chosen from a natural family, is isomorphic to a given abelian group? What is the distribution of the normalised eigen-angles, or the traces, of an elliptic curve defined over the rationals? How are the zeroes of zeta functions distributed in families?

Chantal David has shed new light on such questions by studying statistics for the zeroes of zeta functions for several families of curves over finite fields, and showing that they are compatible with the Katz-Sarnak conjectures; by giving strong evidence for distribution conjectures for elliptic curves, showing that there are true on average; and by using random matrix theory to study the low-lying zeroes in families of elliptic curves. Her work is deep and diversified, and she has written over thirty research papers with more than twenty-five collaborators.

"Particularly striking successes are her statistical results showing that certain famous, but currently unassailable, conjectures (such as those about the trace of Frobenius on reductions of elliptic curves, due to Lang and Trotter) are true when averaged over natural families of the curves," said John Friedlander (University of Toronto.) In some recent work showing that different distribution questions related to elliptic curves are true on average over families of curves, David and her collaborators exhibited a new Cohen-Lenstra phenomenon for the group of points of elliptic curves over finite fields.

"Her work with Fearnley and Kisilevsky on the vanishing of cubic twists of fixed elliptic curves was a pleasant surprise," said Brian Conrey (American Institute of Mathematics).

For more information, contact:

Dr. Lia Bronsard, Chair
CMS Research Committee
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 23418
or Jessica St-James
Communications and Special Projects Officer
Canadian Mathematical Society
(613) 733-2662 ext. 728

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.