Dankesrede – Rom, 20.11.2014 (englisch)

USA

Dennis Sullivan

Balzan Preis 2014 für Mathematik (reine/angewandte)

Für seine herausragenden Beiträge in den Gebieten der Topologie und der dynamischen Systeme, die künftigen Generationen neue Perspektiven eröffnen, sowie für seine außerordentlichen Entdeckungen in vielen Bereichen der Mathematik wie der Topologie, der Geometrie, der Theorie der Klein‘schen Gruppen und der Zahlentheorie.

Your Excellency and Distinguished Participants.

It is wonderful to be able to pursue the curiosities and puzzles that begin when one is a child. It is wonderful to be encouraged and supported as an adult to explore with childlike interest the curiosities and puzzles of science and mathematics. It is wonderful to experience the very occasional, exquisite pleasure of eventually understanding completely some small piece or part of these mysteries. Finally, it is really wonderful to have this searching way of life rewarded and acknowledged by the significant Balzan Prize.

I am excited by the research opportunity the Balzan Prize affords. With the efforts of a group of young researchers, I hope to organize serious practical testing of theoretical tools that we have been forging over a long time span. We want to know if these tools applied numerically might successfully predict where hurricanes hit a populated coastline, or the efficiency of the dispersion of pollutants that turbulence achieves, or the scale of vortex swirls created behind airplane wings.

It is fascinating and challenging that these questions are both mathematically intractable (at least up to now) and yet perhaps practically calculable.

I am grateful for the chance to bring very theoretical efforts to this practical test.
Thank you.

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