Even before this year’s Fields Medal winners were announced, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) or Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies claimed a remarkable figure. Since its founding in 1958, the institute has 12 permanent mathematics professors; Seven of them won the Fields Medal, which is considered the Nobel Prize in Mathematics. On July 5, Hugo Duminil-Copín was named as the recipient of this year’s award, and IHES increased his remarkable record to eight. “I am extremely pleased that Hugo won the Fields Medal. We were betting on him to win the award this year,” IHES director Emmanuel Ulmo told Ars Technica.
people before subjects
Duminil-Coppin was recognized for his use of probability theory to deal with problems in statistical physics. The 36-year-old is the first professor at IHES to specialize in probability theory, a specialty that reveals the philosophy of the institute as well as the reason behind its success. “We look for individuals, not subjects. When recruiting professors, our sole focus is on finding the most brilliant mathematicians or physicists,” Ulmo says.
Ulmo recounts the process of hiring Duminil-Coppin. “Around 2016, when I consulted with experts to suggest names of talented young researchers, Hugo’s name was at the top. Even though no other mathematics professor in IHES history had specialized in probability theory, We offered Hugo the position. If someone of Hugo’s level was doing research in some other area of mathematics, he would have suited us,” Ulmo says.
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