The VIII Edition of the Vicent Caselles Awards (named after one of the most internationally relevant Spanish mathematicians of recent decades, professor at the Universities of Valencia, Balearic Islands and Pompeu Fabra) features four men and two women who have advanced advances in mathematical research at the cutting edge of technology. Art, with applications in areas such as materials science, fluid mechanics, image processing and the development of quantum computers. All under 30 years old.
Guillem Blanco Fernández is a postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven University (Leuven, Belgium), Ángela Capel, junior professor at the University of Tübingen (Germany), Elena Castilla, Assistant Professor at Rey Juan Carlos University, Damian M. Dabrowski, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Daniel Eceizabarrena, Simons Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA) and Juan Carlos Felipe-Navarro, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Helsinki. Everyone receives 2,000 euros.
The conditions to be awarded are that they have not yet reached the age of 30 at the end of the year before the call for proposals and have carried out their research in Spain, even if they do not have Spanish nationality.
In addition to the Vicent Caselles, the two institutions have awarded the José Luis Rubio de Francia prize to the researcher Ujué Etayo, assistant professor at the University of Cantabria and winner of a Caselles in 2020. The José Luis Rubio de Francia is aimed at young mathematicians up to 32 years is endowed with 3,000 euros and carries a start-up grant (Scholarship) in the amount of 35,000 euros, with which the BBVA Foundation will support the research of the award winner for the next three years.
What did the young winners study?
Etayo holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Valladolid and a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Computer Science before earning a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Cantabria. It was her research on the classic problem of optimally distributing a set of points in a space that led her to receive one of the Vicent Caselles prizes in 2020,” explains the winner. Now he is working on “the distribution of points in the 2-dimensional sphere used to affect different types of objects that can be modeled by a sphere, from molecules to satellites”.
Of the other award winners, Guillem Blanco Fernández examines the so-called algebraic singularities. “If we have a polynomial in different variables, we can assign it a geometric shape, like a curve drawn on a table or the surface of a lemon. When these drawings are not smooth and flat, special points appear, the singularities, where the geometric shape self-intersects or forms a point. To compare two singularities with each other, we can assign some numbers (the invariants) that allow for an easier comparison. The behavior of these invariants is unknown,” he explains. In his dissertation, Blanco solved a conjecture about a concrete invariant for the case of plane curve singularities.
Ángela Capel received the award for “the quality of the results of her research, published in international journals, as well as for her pioneering character and undoubted impact,” according to the jury. Her work focuses on open many-particle quantum systems: “These are accumulations of particles interacting with an environment, such as a thermal bath with different temperatures, which influences the system,” she explains. His work can be applied to the development of quantum computers, for example.
The researcher Elena Castilla has focused on the statistical analysis of the operation of single-use devices that are unusable after use and must therefore be disposed of or, at best, repaired in order to continue using them. Some examples are parachutes, air bags car or fire extinguisher. The aim is to better understand the behavior of these devices, predict their service life, identify which factors increase the probability of failure and optimize their production.
Damian M. Dabrowski works in the field of geometric measure theory and harmonic analysis. According to the jury, “his publications in international reference magazines stand out from his work, both through their pioneering character and through their impact”. His research, he explains, “can be applied to modeling many physical phenomena such as fluid mechanics, gravitation, electrostatics, and heat conduction.”
Another winner, Daniel Eceizabarrena, wrote his thesis on a geometric version of the so-called non-differentiable Riemann function. It was recently discovered that this feature appears as the trajectory of some closed vortices, like the smoke rings that many smokers can produce. “The contribution of my doctoral thesis was to analyze this function from this new physical and geometric facet and to study its geometric derivability and its intermittency,” he explains.
As for Juan Carlos Felipe-Navarro, it was his work analyzing nonlocal equations from a theoretical-mathematical perspective that led him to receive one of the awards. “We live in an increasingly globalized world. What happens in one place has consequences in places far away. Nonlocal equations are used to understand these long-range phenomena occurring in fields such as finance, image processing, fluid mechanics or materials science,” he says.
The jury for both awards consisted of Francisco Marcellán, Emeritus Professor of Applied Mathematics at Carlos III University in Madrid, who led the team, Roger Casals, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of California-Davis, Antonio Córdoba, Professor of Mathematical Analysis of the Autonomous University of Madrid, Joan Elías, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Barcelona, Mercedes Landete, Professor of Statistics and Operations Research at the Miguel Hernández University and María Dolores Ugarte, Professor of Statistics and Operations Research at the University of Navarra Public .