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Jacob Lurie, Trailblazing Mathematician, Joins Faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study

June 12, 2019
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Lee Sandberg
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Mark Ostow

Jacob Lurie, who has made transformative contributions to mathematics through his work on derived algebraic geometry and infinity categories, will join the Faculty of the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, effective July 1, 2019.

Lurie’s ideas in modern algebra, geometry, and topology provide novel frameworks that guide current research, unite seemingly disparate fields, and expand upon the foundations of mathematics. Singularly original in his approach, Lurie’s perspective is shaping a new generation of mathematics with deep influence across the field. Currently a Professor of Mathematics at Harvard University, Lurie has also held an Associate Professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“As both an architect and synthesizer of ideas, Jacob’s impact is twofold: constructing the foundations for important areas in mathematics and building bridges between fields,” stated Robbert Dijkgraaf, IAS Director and Leon Levy Professor. “The Institute has been home to some of the greatest minds in modern algebra, homotopy theory and algebraic geometry, including Michael Atiyah, Vladimir Voevodsky, and André Weil—a tradition that will surely be further enhanced by Jacob’s work at the Institute.”

Lurie’s celebrated proof of the Baez-Dolan cobordism hypothesis changed the field drastically, providing a precise dictionary between manifold theory and operadic algebra as well as an applicable language for topological field theory. Embracing an extraordinary breadth of vision, his ideas have touched a diverse range of fields from topology to number theory.

“Lurie’s foundational work changed the way that mathematicians describe and work with derived phenomena,” stated Akshay Venkatesh, Professor in the School of Mathematics. “It has had a remarkably broad influence on modern mathematics.”

Lurie has written two major books, Higher Topos Theory (2009) and Higher Algebra (2011), and is currently at work on a third, Spectral Algebraic Geometry. These volumes, along with a sequence of papers concerned with derived algebraic geometry, have redefined the foundations of homotopy theory and topological aspects of algebraic geometry, providing a powerful environment for groundbreaking research in emerging and classical fields. Lurie’s work provides a channel through which algebraic topology influences algebraic geometry. In this respect his work follows in the tradition of the late IAS Professor Vladimir Voevodsky.

“I’m truly honored to be afforded this opportunity and thrilled to become a part of the long tradition of mathematics at the IAS,” remarked Lurie.

Lurie earned a B.A. in Mathematics from Harvard University (2000) and pursued graduate studies at Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley, and received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004.

Lurie was awarded the 2016 London Mathematical Society Hardy Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field, in particular through his seminal work on derived algebraic geometry, higher category theory, stable homotopy theory, and topological field theory. He was a recipient of the inaugural 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics and a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for creating a novel conceptual foundation for derived algebraic geometry and rewriting large swathes of mathematics from a new point of view.