KTH Royal Institute of Technology: Mathematics researcher receives a large grant from the European Research Council

Maurice Duits, an associate professor at the Department of Mathematics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, will receive two million Euros over five years for his PiRaT (Patterns in Random Tilings) project.

“Getting an ERC Consolidator Grant shows that the research community appreciates and believes in your research ideas, which is very encouraging. This grant gives me the opportunity to fully focus on my research ideas over the next five years. That’s really important, because academic life can be very hectic”, he says.

The research conducted by Maurice Duits and his colleagues demonstrates that many large random systems are not as uncontrolled as one might imagine. When the size of the systems becomes large, patterns of fluctuations appear that can be described by universal laws that exist all around us. This also seems to apply to random tessellation, which his research group is studying in the PiRaT project. In tessellation, different geometric figures cover an area so that no shapes overlap and no space is left out – in the same way as tiles on a bathroom wall, explains Maurice Duits.

“In the PiRaT project, our research group has recently developed some new ideas for analysing certain types of random tessellation models, with which we expect to see fascinating new behaviours”, he says.

PiRaT is a theoretical basic research project. But that does not mean that it has no possible applications, even if these are not the main focus of the project, he notes.

“I’m convinced that if enough smart people think something is interesting, then there’s probably a deeper reason for it that’s well worth investigating. History has repeatedly shown that new ideas can lead to unexpected discoveries and applications. It is curiosity that should be the primary driver for our research, not applications per se”, says Maurice Duits.