News

Great minds honour maths maestro

Some of the world's finest scientific minds are meeting in Edinburgh to honour Britain’s greatest living mathematician.

They are attending a series of events to celebrate the 80th birthday of Edinburgh Professor Sir Michael Atiyah, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 20th century.

High profile

Guests include Professor Peter Higgs of the University, whose work in theoretical physics has inspired the hunt for the Higgs boson at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

Among those taking part is the American mathematician Professor Isadore Singer.

In 1963 Professor Singer and Professor Sir Michael devised the Atiyah-Singer index theorem - one of the landmarks of modern mathematics.

Cross-collaborations

Also attending will be eminent American physicist Professor Edward Witten.

He is one of the leading workers in String theory, a significant branch of theoretical physics.

Professor Sir Michael has been involved in many collaborations and, more recently, he has worked on topics inspired by theoretical physics.

Medal winner

The Professor's many awards include the two most important prizes in mathematics: the Fields Medal, which he won in 1966, and the Abel Prize he shared in 2004 with Professor Singer.

The three-day conference at the University is organised by the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences in Edinburgh.

Following the conference, Sir Michael will take part in two days of events reflecting his interests in history and politics, organised with the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

This event promises to be a fitting tribute to Sir Michael, whose work has done so much to encourage the most exciting interaction between physics and mathematics.

Professor Andrew RanickiProfessor of Algebraic Surgery