Alex Wright receives the 2019 Conant Prize from the AMS
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Research Scientist Alex Wright received the 2019 Levi L. Conant Prize from the American Mathematical Society (AMS). He is being recognized for his article "From rational billiards to dynamics on moduli spaces" published in 2016 in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society (Vol. 53, pp. 4156). In only 16 pages, the article gives a panoramic view of the theory of translation surfaces and of the recent breakthrough by Alex Eskin, Maryam Mirzakhani, and Amir Mohammadi on the structure of the orbit closure of a translation surface. Wright's account combines brevity with clarity. It is a considerable feat: this active and highly technical research area comprises the work of many. The article gives nonspecialists a good entry point and a guide to further reading. Over the years, a number of surveys of the theory of translation surfaces and related topics have appeared, from lengthy and detailed ones to short overviews of the subject. Wright's article is based on his talk in the "Current Events Bulletin" at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in January 2015. It is a tribute to the work of Maryam Mirzakhani who passed away in 2017.
Established in 2000 in honor of Levi L. Conant, the Levi L. Conant Prize is awarded annually and recognizes the best expository paper published in either the Notices of the AMS or the Bulletin of the AMSin the preceding five years. Prize winners are invited to present a public lecture at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as part of the institute's Levi L. Conant Lecture Series, which was established in 2006. The 2019 Conant Prize was awarded Thursday, January 17 during the Joint Prize Session at the 2019 Joint Mathematics Meetings in Baltimore.