Maryna Viazovska wins 2019 Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize

Maryna Viazovska (credit : M. Viazovska)

Maryna Viazovska (credit : M. Viazovska)

Professor Maryna Viazovska at EPFL has won the 2019 Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics for her solution to the famous sphere-packing problem.

The Ruth Lyttle Satter Prize in Mathematics was established in 1990 with a donation by mathematics Professor Joan S. Birman in memory of her sister, the botanist Ruth Lyttle Satter, to honor her commitment to research and to encourage women in science. Administered by the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Satter Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to mathematics research made by a woman in the previous six years.

The 2019 Satter Prize has been given to Professor Maryna Viazovska who holds EPFL’s Chair of Number Theoryfor her groundbreaking work in discrete geometry and her spectacular solution to the sphere-packing problem in dimension eight.”

Viazovska’s elegant 2017 paper “The sphere packing problem in dimension 8” brought her worldwide fame, and the solution was soon adapted to solve the problem for dimension 24. Her mathematical breakthroughs have been recognized with a number of awards, including the Salem Prize, the Clay Research Award, the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, and the New Horizons in Mathematics Prize.

From the AMS press release: Maryna Viazovska’s work has been described as “simply magical”, “very beautiful” and “extremely unexpected.” Her solution to the sphere-packing problem in dimension eight, while conceptually simple, has a deep structure based on certain functions that she explicitly constructs in terms of modular forms. It establishes a new, unanticipated connection between modular forms and discrete geometry.