Duncan Dauvergne and Bálint Virág to receive the 2024 Cathleen Synge Morawetz prize

February 29, 2024 by Canadian Mathematical Society

The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Duncan Dauvergne and Dr. Bálint Virág have been named the recipients of the 2024 Cathleen Synge Morawetz Prize. This prize is awarded for an outstanding research publication, or a series of closely related publications. Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág are being recognized for their pair of papers, “The directed landscape” and “The scaling limit of the longest increasing subsequence”.

Dr. Dauvergne is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Toronto and a Sloan Research Fellow. He obtained his PhD from the University of Toronto in 2019. Following this, he held an Instructorship at Princeton University. He returned to the University of Toronto as a faculty member in 2021.

Dr. Virág currently holds the roles of Professor and Associate Chair of Mathematics at the University of Toronto. He earned his PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000. Following this, he served as a Moore Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the University of Toronto in 2003 as a Canada Research Chair.

Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág co-authored the two papers that are being honoured with the Cathleen Synge Morawetz award. These two papers mark a significant advancement in the realm of probability theory, specifically within the study of planar random growth models in the Kardar-Parisi-Zhang class (KPZ). This breakthrough followed two decades of intensive research in the field, undertaken by leading experts in probability and statistical physics.

The CMS Research Committee states:

“These two papers constitute a tremendous breakthrough and the construction of a central object in the KPZ universality class. It is certainly one of the most significant recent results in all of probability theory.”

In their work, titled “The directed landscape,” Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág, in collaboration with Dr. Janosch Ortmann, achieved a groundbreaking feat by rigorously constructing the universal limiting object for random metrics in the KPZ class. This object, the directed landscape, is a random directed metric on the space-time plane, capturing a comprehensive view of geodesics. Following this milestone, Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág delved into further exploration, contributing several influential papers on the properties of the directed landscape.

The subsequent paper, “The scaling limit of the longest increasing subsequence,” represents another pinnacle achievement. This work establishes a unified framework that encompasses all known KPZ limits of random growth models at zero temperature. Its impact has been widespread, serving as a source of inspiration for many in the field.

Coincidentally, Cathleen Synge Morawetz focused her research on nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), particularly those arising from fluid dynamics and scattering theory. The KPZ model emerges as the probabilistic counterpart, representing an extension of complete integrability with the incorporation of fluctuations.

In summary, the two papers authored by Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág represent a remarkable breakthrough, constituting the establishment of a key entity within the KPZ universality class. Undoubtedly, this achievement stands as one of the most consequential recent results in the entirety of probability theory. The CMS is proud to award the 2024 Cathleen Synge Morawetz Price to Dr. Dauvergne and Dr. Virág.

About the Cathleen Synge Morawetz Prize

The Cathleen Synge Morawetz Prize was established in 2020 in honour of Cathleen Synge Morawetz (1923-2017), to reflect the remarkable breadth and influence of her research achievements in pure and applied mathematics. First awarded in 2021, this prize recognizes an author (or authors) of an outstanding research publication.

For more information, visit the Cathleen Synge Morawetz Prize page.

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

The CMS is the main national organization whose goal is to promote and advance the discovery, learning and application of mathematics. The Society’s activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics competitions that recognize outstanding student achievements.