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Aberdeen Mathematician awarded Fröhlich Prize

A University of Aberdeen Mathematician has been awarded a prestigious prize for his original and innovative work in the field of mathematics.

Professor Michael Weiss, of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, is this year’s recipient of the Fröhlich Prize for his use of algebraic topological methods to solve a number of different geometric problems.

The London Mathematical Society awards several Prizes each year for achievements in and contributions to Mathematics and the Fröhlich prize is awarded every second year.

Professor Weiss is delighted to be this year’s recipient and said: "I am greatly honoured to receive this award from the London Mathematical Society. The award brings back fond memories of an immensely witty and talkative Froehlich whom I met one summer in the late 1980s, whilst I was working at Goettingen University in Germany as a post-doc at the time.

“Assuming that my contribution to the recent proof of the "Mumford conjecture" tipped the scales, I feel an urge to emphasise that it can be seen as part of a larger advance in surface topology, lasting about 10years (1996 - 2006). This has involved three other colleagues from other worldwide institutions: Ulrike Tillmann (herself an LMS prizewinner), Ib Madsen and Soeren Galatius.

“I am extremely thrilled and very grateful to have been a part of that successful enterprise."

Professor Weiss, who has worked at the University for seven years, received his prize during the summer. His early papers analysed algebraic and homotopy theoretic properties which characterise manifolds amongst topological spaces. He has made important advances in adapting the Goodwillie calculus of homotopy functors to give a new approach to understanding the nature of spaces of embeddings of one manifold in another. In this work he has managed to obtain very specific geometric information by using somewhat elaborate and abstract machinery.

Professor Weiss is most famous for his work with Madsen in resolving a conjecture due to Madsen and Tillmann. They succeed in completely determining the homology type of the moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces as the genus tends to infinity. As a special case they solve Mumford's much studied conjecture about the rational cohomology of this space. It was a surprise that the sophisticated methods of modern homotopy theory together with some well known geometric input would yield these results.

Professor Ran Levi, Head of the Department of Mathematics, is equally pleased at the news. He said: “I was delighted to hear the news that Michael Weiss is this year’s recipient of the Fröhlich prize from the London Mathematical Society. This is indeed a very great distinction for Michael, which his spectacular work totally deserves, and a great honour for the Mathematics research team at the University of Aberdeen to have him among us.

Being noticed in this way is also exceptionally good news for the University, and a wonderful signal of the success of what we are trying to do in the Department. On behalf of the Department, I would like to send my warmest congratulations to Michael.”

The London Mathematical Society was established in 1865 for the promotion and extension of mathematical knowledge. In spite of its name, the Society is not simply a London society and is the major British learned society for Mathematics. Out of 2,500 academic mathematicians working in the UK, approximately 1,500 are members of the Society and they have a further 1,000 members overseas.


Notes to Editors:

Professor Michael Weiss, of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, is available for media interviews / photographs to be taken. Please contact Angela Ferguson, Communications Office, on (01224) 272960 to arrange.

Mathematical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen is an ancient Scottish University founded in 1495. Our first chair in Mathematics was created in 1505 and we have been studying and teaching Mathematics ever since. The Department has an excellent reputation for research with very strong groups in Topology and in Group Representation theory. It provides good opportunities for postgraduate work in Pure Mathematics. We teach single Honours Degrees in Mathematics and in Mathematics and Engineering Mathematics, together with a range of Joint Honours Degrees with other subjects. For more information, visit:

For further information on the London Mathematical Society, please visit:

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Thursday 7th of September 2006

Ref: 2046frohlich
Contact: Angela Ferguson

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