Perimeter Institute graduate student Yidun Wan has been awarded the 2008 John Brodie Memorial Award. The committee chose Yidun as this year's recipient based on the level of creativity and independence he has shown in his work. While working in the field of quantum gravity, Yidun has shown a remarkable amount of entrepreneurship and independence in his PhD thesis by developing almost singlehandedly or with other graduate students a new direction of research exploring the possibility to realise matter as a topological excitation of spin network quantum gravity states.
This award is in honour of John Brodie, one of the first postdoctoral researchers at Perimeter Institute. John obtained his doctorate in theoretical physics from Princeton University and then, after a position at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, he joined the fledging Perimeter Institute in 2001. During his short career, he published fifteen research papers, many of which have proven to be quite influential. His work was notable for its breadth, ranging from nonperturbative effects in supersymmetric gauge theories to string theoretic descriptions of quantum Hall fluids and of inflationary cosmology. He was a sharp intellect, a free spirit and a gentle person.
The prize is dedicated to the creativity and independence which John Brodie showed in research. It is awarded annually to a graduate student working under the supervision of a Faculty or Associate Member at Perimeter Institute.