St Petersburg University scientist is the first to win the Weyl—Wigner Award

Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Nicolai Reshetikhin, who works as a chief research associate at St Petersburg University, has become the first winner of the Hermann Weyl and Eugene Wigner International Award for his fundamental contribution to the theory of quantum groups, integrable systems and their applications in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory.

The award named after Hermann Weyl and Eugene Wigner, both outstanding authorities in the field of group theory, is the successor to the tradition of awarding the Wigner Medal named after Eugene Wigner, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. The Weyl—Wigner Award was first awarded on 20 July 2022 at the 34th International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics.

Nicolai Reshetikhin is a world-renowned theoretical physicist and mathematician. He is a graduate of St Petersburg University, a student of Ludvig Faddeev, Professor of Leningrad University / St Petersburg University. Nicolai Reshetikhin is a professor at the University of Amsterdam and the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2017, he has worked as a chief research associate in the Department of Quantum Mechanics at St Petersburg University. In 2021, he became a professor at Tsinghua University, China.

’The award of this highly prestigious prize to Nicolai Reshetikhin can serve as another confirmation of the worldwide recognition of not only the Leningrad (St Petersburg) mathematical school of thought, but also the whole Russian school of thought in the field of mathematical physics,’ believes Vladimir Shabaev, Professor at St Petersburg University, Head of the Department of Quantum Mechanics. ’For us, such recognition is especially valuable because Professor Reshetikhin is engaged in active work with our students, involving them in cutting-edge research. Among other projects, they work within the framework of Russian grants. Professor Reshetikhin also delivers lectures to interested students, including doctoral students, and early career researchers.’

Nicolai Reshetikhin’s scope of academic interests lies in the field of mathematical physics, geometry and representation theory, quantum groups and low-dimensional topology. The scientist became one of the founders of quantum group theory and one of the founders of the Reshetikhin—Turaev invariants (RT invariants). He made an important contribution to Poisson geometry and symplectic geometry, as well as to Kac—Moody quantum algebra. He is also the founder of quantum 6j-symbols associated with quantum gravity.

The Wigner Medal was established in 1978 by the Group Theory and Fundamental Physics Foundation and the Standing Committee of the International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics. It has been awarded for over 40 years. This medal was awarded to such outstanding scientists in the field of mathematics and physics as Israel Gelfand, Julius Wess, Bruno Zumino, Victor Kac, Robert Moody, and Bertram Kostant.

In 2022, the Standing Committee of the International Colloquium on Group Theoretical Methods in Physics decided to award the Weyl—Wigner Prize, which recognises the outstanding contribution of modern scientists to the understanding of physics through group theory, a fundamental theoretical dimension that is actively developed and used in mathematics and the natural sciences. The focus area of a scientist nominated for this competition, according to its terms and conditions, may include: the development and application of mathematical methods; applications of group theoretical methods in chemistry and other sciences; experimental predictions or formulations of general laws of nature using methods of group theory or representation theory; and other related developments.