College Park, MD, 15 April 2009 -- The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announces the winners of the 2009 Dannie Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics and for Astrophysics.
The mathematical prize will be shared by Carlo Becchi of the University of Genoa in Italy, Alain Rouet of the company Science & Tec in France, Raymond Stora of LAPTH in France, and Igor Tyutin of the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow "for discovery and exploitation of the BRST symmetry for the quantization of gauge theories providing a fundamental and essential tool for subsequent developments."
The astrophysics prize will go to Lennox Cowie of the University of Hawaii at Manoa "for his innovative observations and studies of the distant universe, which have advanced significantly our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies."
The Mathematical Physics Prize is awarded on behalf of the Heineman Foundation by the AIP and the American Physical Society (APS) and will be presented to the four mathematicians at the April APS meeting in Denver. The award consists of a certificate and $7,500. The Astrophysics Prize is awarded by the AIP and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and will be presented at the 2010 meeting of the AAS in Washington D.C. The prize consists of a certificate and $10,000.
The discovery of Becchi-Rouet-Stora-Tyutin (BRST) symmetry is the "last episode of the long history of the quantization of fields" that includes Einstein's work on the photoelectric effect and Dirac's studies of constrained systems, says Becchi. Between 1974 and 1976, Igor Tyutin and, independently, the team of Becchi-Rouet-Stora team identified the quantum property that allows for the quantization of gauge theories. Since then, BRST has been applied to quantize the gravitational field and string theory, and has lead to the construction of topological field theory.
Carlo Becchi received a degree in physics in 1962 from the University of Genoa, where he became a full professor in 1976 and chair of the physics department in 1983. He has also chaired the Theory Scientific Committee of the INFN and serves as supervisory editor of the journal Nuclear Physics B.
After receiving a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, Alain Rouet held appointments at the Max Planck Institut für Physik und Astrophysik in Munich, CERN, CNRS in Marseille, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton. In 1983, he founded Science & Tec, a company that advises the managers of large companies in scientific and technical matters.
Raymond Stora, born in Paris, holds a Ph.D. From MIT. He studied high energy particle physics at the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique, the Centre de Physique Théorique, and the Laboratoire d'Annecy de Physique des Particules. Stora received the Max Planck medal from the Deutsche Physikalische Gesselschaft in 1998 and has been elected membre corespondant of the French Academy of Sciences.
Biographical information about Igor Tyutin was unavailable at the time of writing
Born in Scotland, Lennox Cowie received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1976 before spending time at Princeton, MIT, and the space Telescope Science Institute. For the past 25 years, he has worked at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he uses data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope and the telescopes on Mauna Kea to search for the oldest stars and galaxies in the universe, the first ones formed after the Big Bang. His other awards include the Bok Prize from Harvard University in 1984 and the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1985. In 2004, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom.
The AIP is a membership corporation established to promote the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare. Recently celebrating its 75th anniversary, AIP serves its 10 Member Societies through a variety of programs, services, and publications.
The APS is the largest professional organization of physicists in the U.S. Its main goal is to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics.
The AAS is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The basic objective of the AAS is to promote the advancement of astronomy and closely related branches of science.
The Heineman Foundation was founded by Dannie Heineman, an engineer, business executive, and admirer of the accomplishments of physicists and astrophysicists.
AAS prize website:
APS prize website: