Math Professor Receives Humboldt Award

May 9, 2014

Florian Pop, Samuel D. Schack Professor of Algebra in the Department of Mathematics, has received a Humboldt Research Award to fund a year-long collaboration with colleagues in Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation describes the award as recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date. After receiving nominations from German researchers, the Foundation grants the awards to academics whose discoveries, theories or insights have had a powerful impact on their discipline and who are expected to continue contributing to their fields.

Award winners are invited to spend as long as one year cooperating on long-term projects at German universities and research institutions. Pop, a leading expert in a new branch of algebra and number theory known as Anabelian geometry, will visit Heidelberg University, his alma matter, and the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn.

“One of my objectives is to understand and explain the role of what we call ‘shadow’ decomposition laws evolving from prime numbers, which mirror the fact that every whole number has a unique decomposition as the product of prime numbers," said Pop. "A more concrete description of such laws, and similar ones but of geometric nature, has important consequences in computer science, for things like encryption and coding theory and physics in terms of the geometry of physical spaces, among other areas.”