Trinity’s Hamilton Mathematics Institute receives major Simons Foundation grant

Posted on: 01 October 2019

The Hamilton Mathematics Institute (HMI) at Trinity College Dublin has been awarded a second grant of US $600,000 from the Simons Foundation to extend the Simons Visiting Professors, Simons Postdoctoral Fellows, and Simons Visiting Scholars programmes. Additionally, this new grant will support an annual Simons Graduate School and a Simons Symposia.

The announcement comes fresh from a one-day HMI-hosted symposium dedicated to the memory of Sir Michael Atiyah, who chaired the Scientific Advisory Board on the HMI from 2003 to 2016 and sadly passed away earlier this year.

International speakers gathered in Trinity for the symposium. They included Maxim Kontsevich (IHES & Fields Medal Winner (1998)); Andrei Okounkov (Columbia University, USA & Fields Medal Winner (2006)); and Yuri Tschinkel (New York University, USA & Simons Foundation).

The US-based Simons Foundation’s mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. The foundation exists to support discovery driven scientific research, undertaken in pursuit of understanding the phenomena of our world.

The HMI, named after William Rowan Hamilton — one of Trinity’s and Ireland’s greatest scientists — aims to foster and support the economic, cultural and societal benefits of mathematics and fundamental science as drivers of progress in Ireland.

The grant was awarded through the Simons Foundation’s programme of ‘Targeted Grants to Institutes,’ which support centres of excellence in mathematics and physical sciences by providing funding to establish scientific culture and strengthen contacts within the international scientific community. The HMI joins an elite group of international mathematical institutes that are supported in this way.

Announcing the award at the annual HMI Advisory Board meeting, Samson Shatashvili, Director of HMI and University Professor of Natural Philosophy (1847), said:

This continued support from the Simons Foundation to the HMI will provide significant energy to the institute and allow us to extend our national and international role by building on the many strengths that already exist, and by stimulating and nurturing mathematics research with renewed vigour.

It will build on the HMI’s success in creating the conditions for greater collaboration and the exchange of ideas and expertise through visits by leading international mathematicians and theoretical physicists to Ireland and associated workshops, seminars and conferences crucial to maintaining the central role of mathematics in today’s world.

The Hamilton Mathematics Institute Advisory Board (L-R): Michael Bershadsky (Renaissance Technologies), Ruth Britto (Trinity), Yuri Tschinkel (NYU & Simons Foundation), Samson Shatashvili (Director of the HMI, Trinity), Andrei Okounkov (Columbia University), Sinéad Ryan (Trinity) and Sergey Mozgovoy (Trinity).

Sinéad Ryan, Head of the School of Mathematics at Trinity, said:

This second award from the Simons Foundation will enable the HMI to expand its research and outreach activities in a number of ways. The Simons Visiting Professors and Scholars will continue to provide leadership in their disciplines to nurture the next generation of mathematicians excited about its fundamental role in science. The Simons Postdoctoral Fellows will undertake research projects that will enhance and enrich HMI’s activities.

Additionally, the annual Simons Graduate School will offer lectures suitable for graduate students and early career researchers for the benefit of Irish and international students. Finally, the HMI will host a Simons Symposia during the final two years of the grant, bringing Irish and international mathematicians and physicists together.

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