Fields Medal winner appointed Honorary Professor

September 3rd, 2021

Fields Medal winner Caucher Birkar, who studied mathematics at the University of Nottingham after escaping the war between Iraq and Iran, has been made an Honorary Professor.

Former PhD mathematics student Caucher Birkar was awarded the highest honour in mathematics three years ago when he received the prestigious Fields Medal. This honorary professorship is recognition of his achievements during his academic career that started at the University of Nottingham.

Caucher Birkar grew up in the Kurdish region of western Iran in a rural subsistence farming village and is now a Professor of Mathematics in the Yau Mathematical Sciences Center, Tsinghua University, Beijing (on leave from University of Cambridge). In his final year as an undergraduate at the University of Tehran, Caucher Birkar came to England where he sought political asylum.

Caucher studied at Nottingham under the supervision of Ivan Fesenko, Professor of Pure Mathematics in the School of Mathematical Sciences. His talent and passion for the subject quickly became apparent and he was awarded a London Mathematical Society grant as the most promising PhD student in Mathematics and an EPSRC postdoc fellowship soon became his first breakthrough.

In his role as Honorary Professor Caucher will deliver two lectures per year, one of which will be suitable for a general audience.

Professor Paul Houston, Head of the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Nottingham said: “We’re delighted to be appointing Caucher as an Honorary Professor today at the place where he started his career and developed and expanded his knowledge of mathematics. His achievements in the face of such adversity are remarkable and he is a shining example of what can be achieved with passion and determination. I hope that seeing what Caucher has achieved will inspire a new generation of mathematics students to aim just as high.”

Professor Caucher Birkar commented: “I am very honoured to have been offered this appointment. I hope that this creates a strong link between Nottingham, Cambridge, and Tsinghua.”

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