New leader at Perimeter Institute
Theorist Robert Myers has been appointed director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, replacing Neil Turok, who has held the role since 2008. Myers is a leading researcher in the area of quantum fields and strings, and has received numerous awards. His research has primarily focused on gravitational aspects of string theory, most recently exploring applications of the AdS/CFT correspondence. “This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Myers after his appointment was made public.
LIGO spokesperson elected
On 31 March, Patrick Brady of the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee was elected spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which is dedicated to the search for gravitational waves. Brady, who replaces former spokesperson David Shoemaker, takes the helm just as LIGO resumes observations following a series of upgrades that will increase the detector’s sensitivity by about 40% compared to previous runs. Joining LIGO is the European-based gravitational-wave detector Virgo in Italy, which has almost doubled its sensitivity since its last run.
Abel prize for modern geometric analysis
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the 2019 Abel Prize to Karen Uhlenbeck of the University of Texas at Austin “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics”. It is the first time the prestigious prize has been awarded to a woman. Uhlenbeck is a founder of modern geometric analysis, and has made major contributions to gauge theory, having pioneered the study of Yang–Mills equations from a rigorous analytical point of view.
Inaugural philosophy award
Adwait Parker is the inaugural winner of the new Du Châtelet Prize in Philosophy of Physics – created by Duke University and the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. Parker, who has just completed his dissertation at Stanford University, won for his work: “Newton on active and passive quantities of matter”. The prize, named after philosopher Émilie Du Châtelet (1706–1749), recognises graduate students or recent PhDs for previously unpublished work in the philosophy of physics.