9 August 2017

Each Australian Laureate Fellowship sits at the heart of a small, but significant research ecosystem that provides an excellent training environment to nurture and mentor early career researchers.

In this way, as well as supporting our current research leaders, Australian Laureate Fellowships play an important role in cultivating the next generation of research leaders.

Professor Fedor Sukochev is a world-leading mathematician based at The University of New South Wales (UNSW) and one of seventeen Australian Laureate Fellows, including three mathematicians, announced by The Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, on 5 June 2017.

Professor Sukochev is receiving $2,107,500 awarded over five years to bring together a team that will focus on some of the hardest problems in the mathematical fields of noncommutative analysis and quantised calculus. 

These fields have applications in the world of quantum mechanics, where calculations using conventional methods of calculus cannot be used. For instance when measuring qualities of particles such as position and momentum, they can have different values depending on the order in which they are measured.

“Through my Australian Laureate Fellowship I hope to be able to create powerful tools for a new generation of analysts who will be working on these problems, much like the tools that we currently have to work with problems in conventional calculus,” says Professor Sukochev.

Through his Fellowship, Professor Sukochev will be training a high level research team at UNSW, which aims to establish itself as a significant force in fundamental mathematics internationally.  

Professor Sukochev started to form his team when he was Senior Lecturer at Flinders University, and some of his first-generation of noncommutative analysis students are now employed as lecturers at Flinders University and at UNSW. Another former student, Dr Dmitriy Zanin, holds an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) at UNSW.

A new generation of honours and doctoral students have already joined Professor Sukochev at UNSW and, with the sustained funding of the Australian Laureate Fellowship, he hopes to attract and retain more of the best and brightest young mathematicians from around the world.

An important component of the Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme is the additional funding it provides for up to two Postdoctoral Research Associates and two Postgraduate Researchers.

“With the new Australian Laureate Fellowship funding I hope to offer young outstanding researchers, some of them in Sydney, long term contracts, which should be an excellent boost in their career,” says Professor Sukochev.

Already Professor Sukochev and his team have resolved several major outstanding mathematical problems, including a question following from the fundamental work by John Von Neumann, a founding figure in the mathematics of computing and game theory, which related to extensions of symmetric norms from matrix algebras. Their solution has now been developed into a new theory, which has applications across several fields of mathematics.

Professor Sukochev is planning a major international conference to bring several world-leading mathematicians to Australia, to share their work with young and aspiring Australian researchers.

“I have observed many outstanding mathematicians at work. Many of them seem to achieve their results with ease, making their computations with little effort and without touching a piece of paper. There are others, who cover hundreds of pieces of paper with their computations, legible and illegible writings, question marks, and so on.”

“What I have achieved is a result of working collaboratively with many of these outstanding mathematicians.”

 “I also have had incredible luck with outstanding students, far more talented than me,” says Professor Sukochev.