• Laureates represent fields of Astronomy and Mathematics
    Douglas Gough (Credit: Institute of Astronomy)
  • Pictured from top left clockwise; Connie Aerts, (Credit Rob Stevens); Douglas Gough (Credit: Institute of Astronomy); Claire Voisin (Credit: Patrick Imbert/Collège de France) and Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard (Credit: Rasmus Roerbaek)
  • Claire Voisin (Credit: Patrick Imbert/Collège de France)
  • Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard (Credit: Rasmus Roerbaek)
  • Conny Aerts (Credit: Rob Stevens)

Research News

Laureates represent fields of Astronomy and Mathematics

Feb 10 2024

Revealing secrets inside the Sun and stars and using algebraic geometry that can be used to describe shapes which are impossible to visualise, are the chosen fields of study of this year’s Crafoord Laureates announced by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  

Douglas Gough, University of Cambridge, UK, Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark, and Conny Aerts, KU Leuven, Belgium, have been awarded The Crafoord Prize in Astronomy 2024 by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences “for developing the methods of asteroseismology and their application to the study of the interior of the Sun and of other stars.” 

The scientists applied methods used by seismologists for studying patterns of earth movements during quakes, for investigating movement on the surfaces of the Sun and other stars caused by internal oscillations that are similar to soundwaves (asteroseismology).

Their studies led Professor Gough, his doctoral student Professor Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard and hundreds of other researchers to establish a network called the GONG telescopes, which resulted in entirely new discoveries, such as how the interior of the Sun rotates differently to its outer layer. 

Conny Aerts used the same method to learn more about distant stars while other researchers are using this new technology to measure the radius of stars and the composition of their interiors to give them a more precise age.

The Crafoord Prize in Mathematics 2024 was awarded to Claire Voisin, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu, France, “for outstanding contributions to complex and algebraic geometry, including Hodge theory, algebraic cycles and hyperkähler geometry”. 

Algebraic geometry deals with geometric shapes and structures that can be described as solutions to algebraic equations. Unlike the elementary geometry studied at school, these shapes are often impossible to visualise and algebraic geometry has developed into one of modern mathematics most theoretically demanding areas.

Professor Voisin has provided important and highly acclaimed contributions in this field, through both counter examples and strongly positive results for some of the most famous unsolved problems. One such example is the Kodaira problem, about which geometric shapes of higher dimensions can be described by equations. 

She is the first woman to receive the prize in Mathematics since the inception of the Mathematics and Astronomy Awards in1982, which are jointly awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm and the Crafoord Foundation in Lund, Sweden. The Mathematics and Astronomy categories of the Crafoord this year each carry a prize of six million Swedish Kroner.

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