Media Release – January 29, 2021
Canadian Mathematical Society

Dr. Joel Kamnitzer to Receive the 2021 CMS Jeffery-Williams Prize

Joel Kamnitzer in front of a black board holding math objects

OTTAWA, ON – The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce that Dr. Joel Kamnitzer (University of Toronto) is the recipient of the 2021 Jeffery-Williams Prize, which recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to mathematical research by a member of the Canadian mathematical community.

Joel Kamnitzer received his PhD in 2005 at the University of California in Berkeley under the supervision of Allen Knutson, with a thesis on Mirkovic-Vilonen cycles. He held postdoctoral positions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), at UC Berkeley, and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI).  He joined the faculty of the University of Toronto in 2008, where he is full professor since 2016.

The CMS recognizes Dr. Kamnitzer as a world leader in the field of geometric representation theory. He has had some of the most original and influential contributions of the past 20 years in his field.

His field of research can be described as an interface between algebra, geometry and modern mathematical physics. Among his recent interests are the categorification program and algebraic problems in modern mathematical physics.

One particular strand of Dr. Kamnitzer’s research is a novel approach to knot homology based on the study of the affine Grassmannian, an infinite-dimensional manifold which is one of the main objects of modern geometric representation theory. In particular, he developed a geometric approach to categorification of knot homology.

Another important contribution of Dr. Kamnitzer is his work on symplectic duality, which involves the quantization of certain slices of the affine Grassmannian.

Dr. Kamnitzer was the recipient of the André Aisenstadt Prize of CRM in 2011, and has held a Simons Fellowship as well as an  E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship. He has published widely, always in top journals, and is a regular speaker at international mathematical venues.  He has won teaching awards, and is an influential educator, having supervised 14 PhD students and 11 MSc students to date.

Joel Kamnitzer is a world-class mathematician whose influence significantly advanced a big portion of modern mathematics. The CMS is proud to award him the 2021 Jeffery-Williams Prize. Dr. Kamnitzer will give the Jeffery-Williams Prize Lecture at the Summer Meeting of the CMS in Ottawa.

About the Jeffery-Williams Prize

The Jeffery-Williams Prize was inaugurated to recognize mathematicians who have made outstanding contributions to mathematical research. The first award was presented in 1968 and is named after Ralph Jeffery and Lloyd Williams, who were two influential CMS Board members.

For information about past recipients visit: Jeffery-Williams Prize

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

The CMS is the main national organization whose goal is to promote and advance the discovery, learning and application of mathematics. The Society’s activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics competitions that recognize outstanding student achievements.

For more information, please contact:

Prof. Javad Mashreghi (Laval)
Canadian Mathematical Society
or Prof. Victor LeBlanc (Ottawa)
Chair, CMS Research Committee
Canadian Mathematical Society