Four researchers from Paris-Sud honored by the Academy of Science

Four researchers from Université Paris-Sud are among the prize-winners honored at the 2019 Academy of Sciences awards ceremony, held on October 16, 2018 beneath the dome of the Institut de France.

As in previous years, the Academy of Science is presenting all the prizes and medals it has awarded in 2019 at two special ceremonies under the dome of the Institut de France. The first of the ceremonies took place on October 15 and the second will be held on November 26, 2019. Four researchers from Université Paris-Sud are among the prize-winners. Each year the Academy of Science’s awards pay tribute to experienced scientists and give encouragement to young researchers in the early stages of their careers. These awards are made possible by the generosity of private donors, government agencies and businesses, and cover all areas of research, both fundamental and applied.

Nicolas Curien, professor in the mathematics department at Université Paris-Sud, winner of the 2019 Prix Jacques Herbrand

Nicolas Curien’s influential and important work concerns random planar maps and random objects associated with them. With his colleagues, he has for instance proved the sub-diffusivity of the random walk on the uniform infinite planar quadrangulation; he has introduced (and studied) a major new class of hyperbolic planar triangulations; he has linked properties of random maps to Bertoin’s growth-fragmentation processes; and he has also introduced and studied looptrees, which are natural objects for understanding the large-scale structure of certain decorated random maps.

Yves Benoist, CNRS research director at Université Paris-Sud’s mathematics laboratory, is the winner of the 2019 Prix Léonid Frank

The body of Yves Benoist’s research work concerns the study of group actions on varieties: geometry, dynamics, random walks on groups, and representations. Yves Benoist has resolved difficult conjectures, introduced powerful tools and achieved spectacular results.

Let us cite a few striking examples:

With T. Kobayashi, he has given a criterion which detects whether the regular representation of certain homogeneous spaces is tempered.

He has resolved a Katok-Hurder conjecture in his work with Foulon and Labourie on Anosov flows and diffeomorphisms with smooth stable and smooth distributions, greatly expanding upon one of Ghys’s theorems.

His findings with J.F. Quint on the bonds of orbits of discrete subgroups on finite volume spaces, and study of limit measures, have revolutionized the subject.

With D. Hulin, Yves Benoist has proved conjectures of Schoen-Li-Wang and Markovic on the distance of a quasi-isometry to harmonic applications.

Jacqueline Bloch, director of research at the National Center for Scientific Research in the Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Center laboratory (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud/Paris-Saclay) is the winner of the 2019 Prix Ampère de l’Electricité de France.

Jacqueline Bloch has done pioneering work in the field of cavity polaritons in semi-conductors. Her breakthroughs in the experimental field, coupled with her in-depth understanding of a delicate subject where some confusion existed, have made Jacqueline Bloch the world leader in research on Bose-Einstein condensates of polaritons, contributing to a vast area of physics ranging from liquid helium to the ultracold quantum gases.

Quentin Mérigot, professor in the Université Paris-Sud’s mathematics laboratory, is the winner of the 2019 GAMNI-SMAI (mechanical and computer sciences) Prix Blaise Pascal

Quentin Mérigot’s research combines incontestable mathematical profundity with natural digital creativity. The result is a unique blend of analysis, measure theory, discrete geometry and algorithms. His algorithms for optimal transport have given rise to numerous applications for industry and data science.

His award will be presented at a second ceremony on November 26, 2019