Awardees Symbolize the Domains of Astronomy and Mathematics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced the recipients of the 2024 Crafoord Laureates, recognizing advancements in the fields of astronomy and mathematics. The winners include Douglas Gough from the University of Cambridge, Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Conny Aerts from KU Leuven, Belgium. They have been awarded the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy for their development and application of asteroseismology methods to study the interior of the Sun and other stars.

The trio’s research involves the application of seismological methods, typically used to analyze earth movements during earthquakes, to study the movements on the surfaces of the Sun and other stars. These movements are caused by internal oscillations similar to soundwaves, a study known as asteroseismology. The researchers’ work led to the establishment of a network of GONG telescopes, which facilitated new discoveries, including the differential rotation of the Sun’s interior and outer layer.

Conny Aerts employed the same asteroseismology techniques to gain insights about distant stars. Other scientists have also used this emerging technology to determine the radius of stars and analyze their internal composition, allowing for a more accurate estimation of their age.

The 2024 Crafoord Prize in Mathematics was awarded to Claire Voisin from the Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, France. She was recognized for her distinguished contributions to complex and algebraic geometry, including Hodge theory, algebraic cycles, and hyperkähler geometry. Algebraic geometry, a theoretical branch of modern mathematics, involves the study of geometric shapes and structures represented by algebraic equations. Often, these shapes are impossible to visualize.

Voisin’s work in this field has been highly appreciated, thanks to her significant contributions, including her work on unresolved problems, such as the Kodaira problem, which deals with the representation of higher dimension geometric shapes through equations. Notably, Voisin is the first woman to receive the Mathematics prize since the Mathematics and Astronomy Awards were established in 1982.

The Crafoord Prize, jointly awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, and the Crafoord Foundation in Lund, Sweden, carries a prize of six million Swedish Kroner for each category. The accolade represents a significant recognition in the fields of astronomy and mathematics, highlighting the importance of continuous research and development in these areas.

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