MEDIA RELEASE — March 20, 2014

Canadian Mathematical Society

March 20, 2014

University of Toronto professor garners prestigious national award

Askold Khovanskii to receive CMS 2014 Jeffery-Williams Prize for research excellence

Askold Khovanskii (University of Toronto)

OTTAWA— The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce that Askold Khovanskii from the University of Toronto is the recipient of the 2014 Jeffrey-Williams Prize, to be awarded in December at the Society’s Winter Meeting in Ottawa.

The Jeffery Williams Prize was inaugurated 1968 and is annually awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to mathematical research in Canada. This prize is named partly for former CMS president Ralph Jeffery and partly for former CMS treasurer, Lloyd Williams.

“It is my pleasure to announce that Askold Khovanskii has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Jeffrey-Williams Prize,” said CMS President, Keith Taylor. “Dr. Khovanskii is a brilliant mathematician whose research in pure mathematics has had a great impact on the mathematical community in Canada and abroad.”

Khovanskii's research can be divided into the formulation of four mathematical theories in the area of pure mathematics. Khovanskii started the topological variants of Galois theory in his Ph.D. thesis. This theory gives the strongest results about unsolvability of algebraic and differential equations in finite terms. He is one of the creators of the Newton Polyhedra theory which relates algebraic geometry with combinatorics and geometry of integral convex polyhedra. The theory of fewnomials is another of Khovanskii's theories, which develops a category of transcendental varieties reminiscent of algebraic geometry. Finally, Khovanskii's most recent collaborative theory, the theory of Newton-Okounkov bodies, has proved useful in both algebraic geometry and geometry of convex bodies.

“Khovanskii’s research is characterized by elegance and beauty typical of the mathematical classics,” said Dr. Kumar Murty in his prize nomination letter. “Amazingly his solutions of deep and complex problems seem so simple and natural that one wonders how come they were not discovered before.”

In addition to Khovanskii’s research efforts, he has been published in almost 150 publications and continues to mentor aspiring mathematicians at the Ph.D. and postdoctoral level at the University of Toronto.

Askold Khovanskii was born in Moscow, Russia, where he graduated from Moscow State University in 1970. In 1973 under the direction of Vladimir Arnold, he got his PhD from Steklov Mathematical Institute. He got his Russian Doctoral Degree (analogous to the German Habilitation) from the same Institute in 1988. Askold was one of the founding fathers and active teachers of the Independent University of Moscow. He held scientific positions at the Institute for System Analysis (Moscow) and joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1995, where he remains today.

For more information, contact:

Stephen Kudla , Chair
CMS Research Committee
Dept. of Mathematics
University of Toronto
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. The CMS annually sponsors mathematics awards and prizes that recognize outstanding achievements.