Francqui Prize 2015
Prof. Angel Rubio was part of the jury for the “Belgian Nobel Prize”
The Francqui Prize 2015 in exact sciences was presented to the mathematician Stefaan Vaes (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) by the Queen of Belgium in a ceremony that took place at the Paleis der Academiën in Brussels on 9 June. He was awarded for his research into von Neumann algebras, mathematical structures that have applications in, for instance, quantum mechanics and knot theory. The jury stated: “Vaes’s work focusses on the structure and classification of non-commutative operator algebras. He has used novel methods to derive remarkably powerful solutions to several long standing problems in von-Neumann algebras. These have developed and vastly improved all existing techniques in this area, and inspired a generation of young mathematicians in Belgium and the rest of the world.”
The jury for the 2015 Francqui prize was chaired by nobel laureate David Gross from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California in Santa Barbara. Besides Angel Rubio, director of the MPSD theory department, the jury consisted of Roger Brockett (Harvard University), Nello Cristianini (University of Bristol), James L. Crowley (Grenoble Institut Polytechnique), Simon Deleonibus (CEA-LETI), Faddeev Ludwig Dmitrievich (Steklov Mathematical Institute), Claudia Felser (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids), Roderick J. Little (University of Michigan), David Marshall (University of Oxford), John Meurig Thomas (University of Cambridge), nobel laureate Hartmut Michel (Max Planck Institute of Biophysics), Joachim Saur (University of Cologne), Peter Zoller (University of Innsbruck/Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information), and Matthias Scheffler (Fritz Haber Institute).
The Francqui Foundation, named after the Belgian Émile Francqui, awards an annual prize of 250,000 Euros to a prominent Belgian scientist under the age of 50 for a major scientific contribution that has added to the prestige of Belgium. The Francqui prize alternates between biological and medical sciences, exact sciences, and humanities in a three-year cycle. It is the largest and most prestigious science prize in Belgium.