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Very rubin observatory, Credit: Rubin Obs/NSF/AURA

Perimeter researcher earns Royal Society of Canada award

Mathematical physicist Kevin Costello, holder of the Krembil Foundation William Rowan Hamilton Chair at Perimeter, has been awarded the John L. Synge Award.

For his leading work in the mathematics underlying quantum field theory, Perimeter Faculty member Kevin Costello has earned the John L. Synge Award from the Royal Society of Canada.

The citation for the John L. Synge award reads that Costello’s work “brings modern mathematical techniques to bear” in a “widely used theoretical paradigm in physics.”

Costello, who has held the Krembil Foundation William Rowan Hamilton Chair at Perimeter since 2014, explores topics including mathematical foundations of perturbative quantum field theory and the applications of topological and conformal field theories to other areas of mathematics.

Like Costello, the award’s namesake, John Lighton Synge (1897-1995), was a highly respected Irish-born mathematician and physicist. He was one of the first mathematicians working in Canada to obtain international recognition through research in mathematics. During his seven-decade career, Synge wrote extensively and is credited with a new geometrical approach to relativity.

Costello’s work in the mathematics of quantum field theory has unveiled new mathematical structures linking representation theory, geometry, and field theory. These ideas have deep connections to particle physics, condensed matter theory, and early-universe cosmology. His work has been recognized with the Berwick Prize of the London Mathematical Society in 2017 and the Eisenbud Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 2020.

“Kevin Costello is an exceptional young scientist with a talent for bridging the worlds of mathematics and physics to open new paths of discovery,” said Perimeter Institute Director Robert Myers. “His work is ambitious and adventurous – the kind of bold fundamental research Perimeter was designed to facilitate.”

About PI

Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement. 

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