Mathematician Geordie Williamson, from the University of Sydney, Australia, is among a select fifty people to be awarded the honour of Fellow of the Royal Society, based in London, which is the oldest scientific academy in the world.
This recognition is given to individuals who have made significant contributions in furthering our understanding about the natural world, mathematics, engineering and the medical sciences.
Williamson has been designated a Fellow because of his contributions to the mathematical field of representation theory, the study of linear symmetry. A representation turns complex abstract algebra and algebraic objects into linear algebra and simpler matrices. Representation theory also has applications in physics and describing the symmetry of a physical system.
This is one of many awards bestowed on Williamson, who has previously received the Facebook-funded New Horizons in Mathematics Prize, the European Mathematical Society Prize, and an expensive case of wine for winning a bet about a mathematical concept.
Previous recipients of the Fellowship include 80 Nobel Prize winners and the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Sir David Attenborough, and Williamson’s personal source of inspiration, Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan.
Williamson will journey to London to accept his election, along with this year’s fellow recipients, who include South African entrepreneur Elon Musk, and fellow Australian Ingrid Scheffer, a paediatric neurologist who has made important advances in understanding epilepsy.
Geetanjali Rangnekar is a science communicator and editor, based in Adelaide, Australia.
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