Press release 2022/059 from

It’s a great honour for mathematician Professor László Székelyhidi from Leipzig University: since last September he has been spending the academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton. In his role as Distinguished Visiting Professor, he has the opportunity to work in the famous room where Albert Einstein once conducted research. The institute was the final place where Einstein worked and a refuge for many other scientists who had fled Germany. Thanks to Einstein, the “father of modern physics”, the Institute for Advanced Study became one of the most famous research centres in the world. “On the one hand, I am simply awestruck. On the other, it is just an office – albeit a very large one in the Institute’s historic building – so large, in fact, that I can also play the occasional string quartet with my colleagues in the room. It is well known that Einstein himself was an avid violin player, so I suspect that we are not the first to make music in this office,” said László Székelyhidi.

Three years ago, the mathematician was asked if he would like to help shape the 2021/22 academic year as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. “I felt this was a great honour and accepted immediately,” he said.  Every year at the IAS, the School of Mathematics organises a so-called special year – a year on a particular topic where many scholars at different career levels, from postdoc to professor, are invited to take part or can apply. It is the responsibility of the Distinguished Visiting Professor to plan the year, choose the topics and organise the activities. Currently, about 25 scientists are involved. There are regular seminars and colloquia. This year’s special programme focuses on a topic involving both geometry and fluid mechanics. One of the issues is how to use geometric methods to better understand turbulent flows, which are typically described purely statistically. 

The professor of applied mathematics at Leipzig University has received a number of awards, including the 2018 Leibniz Prize from the German Research Foundation (DFG). Székelyhidi was awarded the Leibniz Prize, worth 2.5 million euros, for his significant research results in the theory of partial differential equations. He had previously secured a grant from the European Research Council (ERC).