Two University of Chicago faculty members have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The new academy members are mathematician Vladimir Drinfeld and physicist Wayne Hu. They are among 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries that the academy is recognizing for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Vladimir Drinfeld is the Harry Pratt Judd Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics and the College. Drinfeld received the Fields Medal in 1990 for his work on quantum groups and number theory. The mathematics equivalent to the Nobel Prize, the Fields Medal is awarded every four years to mathematicians under the age of 40. Drinfeld also is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a corresponding member of the Ukranian Academy of Sciences. He is a specialist in the geometric Langlands program, which is a part of geometric representation theory. With UChicago colleague Alexander Beilinson, the David and Mary Winton Green University Professor of Mathematics, Drinfeld is co-author of Chiral Algebras (2004), which has become a standard reference on the subject.
Wayne Hu is the Horace B. Horton Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and a senior member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. Hu seeks to understand how cosmic structures such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies were seeded at the big bang. Early in his career, he made important theoretical contributions to understanding the temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background, the afterglow of the big bang. His work has provided important insights on how to use temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background to test cosmological theories and to determine cosmological parameters. A member of the South Pole Telescope and Dark Energy Survey collaborations, Hu's many honors include elected membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Packard Fellowship, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship.