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Press Release No. 58 | 19 October 2009
Differential Geometer Alexander Lytchak Receives von Kaven Award

DFG awards mathematics prize to outstanding young researcher

Mathematician Alexander Lytchak is to receive this year's von Kaven Award for Mathematics from the von Kaven Foundation, a fund administered by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), for his outstanding work in the field of differential geometry. The award, which includes prize money of 10,000 euros, honours Lytchak, whose work is funded by the DFG's Heisenberg Programme, mainly for his achievements in his primary research field, that of singular Riemannian foliations. Lytchak is, according to the rationale, imaginative and multi-talented with strong communication skills. He will be presented with the award during the German Mathematical Society (DMV)'s Gauss Lecture on 30 October 2009 in Aachen. DFG senator Professor Wolfgang Dahmen will give the laudation.

Alexander Lytchak was born in 1978 in Leningrad and studied mathematics in Bonn; after achieving his doctorate in 2001, he went on to qualify as a university professor in 2008. His high level of aptitude was demonstrated early on by his victory in the Russian Mathematical Olympiad in 1992 and in the German Federal Math Competitions in 1993 and 1995. Since achieving his doctorate, Lytchak's career has included work in two DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centres and in the "Foundations, Models, Applications" cluster of excellence at the University of Bonn. He maintains diverse international cooperation projects. In addition to Münster, his current Heisenberg fellowship takes him to Brazil, Canada and the USA. These international exchanges are intended to advance his work in the areas of singular Riemannian foliations and metric spaces with non-positive curvature. Both fields are cutting-edge research topics in differential geometry.

The prize money for the von Kaven Award is provided by the foundation of the same name, which was established by Detmold mathematician Herbert von Kaven in December 2004. Von Kaven died in the summer of 2009 at the age of 101, but he maintained a particular interest in mathematical principles into his old age and spent his life championing their advancement. The location of this year's award ceremony has special significance for the von Kaven family: in 1869, the founder's grandfather, August von Kaven, became the first Director of the Aachener Polytechnikum, which was later to become the Rheinisch-Westfälisch Technische Hochschule (RWTH). An oil painting of August von Kaven from the benefactor's estate is to be presented to the university administration of the RWTH during this year's award ceremony in Aachen.

The Gauss Lectures are mathematical lectures held in ceremonial surroundings and aimed at the mathematically interested and educated public. They are sponsored by the German Mathematical Society. After a historically-themed presentation in which Professor Thomas Sonar from the Braunschweig University of Applied Sciences will discuss the subject of Carl Friedrich Gauss as an arithmetician, Dutch number theorist and aphorist Professor Hendrik W. Lenstra will give the main lecture on the topic of "Modelling finite fields". In the course of this lecture, Lenstra will explore the actual meaning of what is, in mathematical presentations and research, often known as "Let ...". This, the 15th Gauss Lecture, will take place at 4 pm on 30 October 2009 in the Coronation Room of the Town Hall in Aachen.

Further Information

Further information on the von Kaven Award:

Information on the DFG's Heisenberg Programme:

Information on the German Mathematical Society's 15th Gauss Lecture:

Contact person for the von Kaven Award at the DFG's Head Office:

  • Dr. Frank Kiefer, Tel. 0228 885-2567, Frank.Kiefer@dfg.de