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Tobias Oertel-Jäger Wins The 2015 von Kaven Award

Mathematician to Receive Award for Investigating Topological, Geometric and Probabilistic Aspects of Dynamical Systems

Dr. Tobias Oertel-Jäger

Dr. Tobias Oertel-Jäger

Dr. Tobias Henrik Oertel-Jäger has won the 2015 von Kaven Award presented by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). Following his role as Head of a DFG-funded Emmy Noether independent junior research group at the Technical University of Dresden, the mathematician started the "Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems" Heisenberg professorship at the University of Jena in July. The von Kaven Award, which is worth €10,000, is being conferred for the tenth time and will be presented on 21 September 2015 at the opening event of the annual meeting of the German Mathematical Society (DMV) in Hamburg.

Tobias Oertel-Jäger's research field is “dynamical systems” and it ranges from theoretical work to applications in biology and physics. A dynamical system is a concept in mathematics that describes a certain class of models of time-dependent processes, which in synopsis raise very basic issues and are as important when describing many natural and technological processes. Tobias Oertel-Jäger's fundamental research work is part of the discipline called ergodic theory. This field of research attracts great international interest, as illustrated by the Fields Medal (often nicknamed the "Nobel Prize for mathematics") being awarded to Maryam Mirzakhani in 2014 for her work in this context. This fact, coupled with Oertel-Jäger's previous accomplishments, was enough to convince the von Kaven Award jury, the reviewers and the University of Jena that a Heisenberg professorship is an asset for mathematical research there. Aside from the applicant's excellent qualification, such a professorship requires a structural development plan and the university’s guarantee to institute the position after the end of the funding period upon receiving a positive evaluation.

Before applying for the Heisenberg professorship, Oertel-Jäger had been the Head of the Emmy Noether independent junior research group "Low-dimensional and Non-autonomous Dynamics" in Dresden since 2009. In this group, he researched topological and geometric aspects and probability theory in dynamical processes. He observed the rotation theory of surfaces, attractors and their properties, quasicrystals and the application in biological and physical systems. Within this framework, he substituted a Chair in a professorship for biomathematics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg for one quarter in 2012 and spent a month in 2014 as a fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn.

Oertel-Jäger, whose reviews stress his high productivity and his good and international network, did not begin his career studying mathematics. His original studies were in biology. After completing the Vordiplom (intermediate diploma), he switched to mathematics and became a visiting student at several international universities. In 2005 he was conferred his doctorate at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. He then spent three months conducting research at the University of Surrey in the UK with funding of a Marie Curie Fellowship awarded by the European Commission. During his postdoctoral studies, he was granted a DFG Research Fellowship, which he spent between 2006 and 2009 at the Collège de France in Paris.

As before in 2012, this year’s annual meeting of the German Mathematical Society (DMV) will host the award ceremony for the von Kaven Award. The meeting's many formats give mathematicians the opportunity to exchange expertise and are also open to the public. After the von Kaven Award is presented on 21 September, a lecture on the following day will explain the funding opportunities for mathematicians by the DFG.

The von Kaven Award is presented to early career researchers in mathematics in the Heisenberg Programme to honour particular achievements. The decision is made by the DFG's mathematics review board. The prize money is provided by the foundation of the same name, which the mathematician Herbert von Kaven and the DFG established jointly in 2004. Von Kaven, who was originally from Detmold, died in 2009 aged 101. Even at an advanced age, he continued to be interested particularly in the fundamental aspects of mathematics and throughout his life campaigned for their funding.

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