Lancaster University: Prestigious national award for Lancaster mathematician

A Lancaster University lecturer has been awarded a prestigious national mathematics prize.

Dr Jonny Evans, a Lecturer in Pure Mathematics in Lancaster University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics since 2019, has received the Whitehead Prize – an annual prize awarded by the London Mathematical Society to early-career mathematicians.

Dr Evans works on problems in geometry and topology. He studies spaces and shapes called algebraic varieties, which means they can be defined by equations.

The Whitehead Prize was awarded for his contributions to the relations between “symplectic topology” and algebraic geometry, and specifically his work on “singularities” – points where the smooth geometry of a space, known as a “variety”, breaks down.

Dr Evans explains: “If you want to see a singularity, you need look no further than the bottom of your empty cup. If the light catches it right, you will see a bright caustic curve, and by tilting the cup you will see it form a sharp cusp. The caustic is a variety and the cusp is a singularity.”

Professor Alexander Belton, the Head of Lancaster University’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics, said: “This award recognises the exceptional quality of Jonny’s research and is very well deserved. He is an outstanding mathematician.”

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