Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Yakov Sinai Wins Abel Prize
We've got a win for the home team (aka: dynamical systems) today: Yakov ("Yasha") Sinai has won the Abel Prize! This is richly deserved. And if you look at this last page and know my academic interests, you'll see many subjects that are near and dear to my heart --- like dynamical systems, billiards, chaos, etc. A few years ago, I tried to get Yasha interested in the two-particle billiards on which I have worked a bit with Bunimovich and a couple of students. He brought up some very good ideas, obviously, but he didn't seem super interested in the problem. Also, as far as mathematical lineage goes, this one is a big win for the home team in a very large sense (well beyond dynamical systems). Besides having worked on billiard problems, there is pretty direct lineage: my official postdoc mentor at Georgia Tech was Leonid ("Lyonia") Bunimovich, who was a PhD student of Sinai. Update: Here is the blurb in Nature News. Update (4/10/14): There is now an article about Sinai's Abel Prize in The Daily Princetonian. I love Lyonia's quote in the article (because it's typical Lyonia): "I was waiting for this event already for some years."