Indian American mathematician receives first Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory


The American Mathematical Society (AMS) has unanimously nominated esteemed Indian-American mathematician Nikhil Srivastava for the first Ciprian Foias Prize in Operator Theory.

According to a press statement, the prize recognizes the groundbreaking work in developing and introducing techniques to understand the characteristic polynomial of matrices, including the iterative sparsification method which also partners with Batson and the process of interlacing polynomials.

Along with Srivastava, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, Adam Marcus and Daniel Spielman are the other two recipients. At the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Adam Marcus is the Chair of Combinatorial Analysis. Spielman is the Sterling Professor of Computer Science, a statistician and data scientist, and a mathematician.

“Together, these ideas provided a powerful toolkit with many applications, notably in the trio’s breakthrough paper ‘Interlacing families II: mixed characteristic polynomials and the Kadison–Singer problem’ (Annals of Mathematics, 2015), which solves the famous ‘paving problem” in operator theory, formulated by Richard Kadison and Isadore Singer in 1959,” PTI reported quoting AMS.

Three honorees remarks on AMS Awards

The three honorees said in a joint statement that they will receive the prize on behalf of many others who had worked for finding the solution to the Kadison–Singer problem.

They added that their participation was the finale of an incredible narrative that they hope may encourage similar solutions for challenging issues in the future.

Professor Srivastava and the other two awardees will receive the award on January 5, 2022, during the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Seattle, which is characterized as “the world’s largest mathematics meeting”.

Srivastava has now received the Ciprian Foias Prize for the third time after jointly winning the George Polya Prize in 2014 and the Held Prize in 2021.

Nikhil Srivastava was born in the Indian capital city of New Delhi. In 2005, he graduated with the highest distinction, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Union College in Schenectady, New York. In 2010, he earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Yale University.