Rodney Baxter wins Poincare Prize for Mathematical Physics

Friday 13 August 2021

Congratulations to our former head of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus Professor Rodney Baxter, who has been awarded the 2021 Henri Poincare Prize at the 2021 International Congress of Mathematical Physics (ICMP) in Geneva, Switzerland. 

This is a major international prize, recognising outstanding contributions in mathematical physics and is awarded every three years at the International Mathematical Physics Congress. 

Professor Baxter was awarded the Prize “for ground-breaking contributions to the study of exactly solvable models in statistical mechanics, which have led to, and continue to inspire, profound developments across a broad spectrum of mathematics and physics."

He graduated from the School in 1964, and later returned from a time at MIT to a position in Theoretical Physics (1970-2002). Since his retirement he has been affiliated with the ANU School of Mathematical Sciences. 

Professor Baxter's work has deeply influenced both mathematics and physics over many decades. The influence of his methods and results is enormous, and one of the most important mathematical developments of the last thirty years has been revolutionary advances in the field of algebra and its intimate relation with mathematical physics. 

This revolution in algebra originates in Rodney’s brilliant inventions of what are now called the Yang-Baxter equation and the corner transfer matrix. Rodney's work has inspired the invention of quantum groups, the discovery of knot invariants and the development of the powerful and systematic methods for solving integrable models. 

The concept of Yang-Baxter integrability continues to have far reaching implications in many-body physics and plays a fundamental role in recent developments in Gauge/String theories and high-energy physics. 

This is a richly deserved prize for an outstanding lifetime contribution to mathematical physics. 

Rodney has also received the Pawsey Medal in 1975, Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1980, the Lyle Medal in 1983, the Heinemann Prize of the American Physical Society in 1987, and the Massey Prize of the British and Australian Institutes of Physics in 1993, Onsager Prise in 2006 and the Royal Medal in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and of the Royal Society of London. 

 

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