Clay Mathematics Institute New President
May 11. The Clay Mathematics Institute announces today that as of June 30, 2012, the office of its president will move from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Oxford, UK. At that time Professor Nicholas Woodhouse of Oxford University will assume the position of president. He will succeed Professor James Carlson, formerly of the University of Utah.
Carlson has held the position of president since 2003, completing two terms as president. Asked about the move, Carlson said, "We will all miss Cambridge, which is one of the great intellectual centers of the world. It has been a wonderful place to carry out the work of CMI. Oxford University will offer corresponding advantages of a vibrant academic community, at the same time as providing advantageous proximity to both the U.S. and continental Europe. Moreover, in just eighteen months, the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University will move to a spacious and elegant new building designed by architect Rafael Viñoli, for which the Clay family was the lead donor. Since the scientific activities carried out by the Institute are driven by opportunity and merit, very little will change in that regard."
Professor Carlson added: "In making this move, I would like to recognize the contributions of CMI's scientific advisory board: Simon Donaldson, Gregory Margulis, Richard Melrose, Yum-Tong Siu, and Andrew Wiles. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with such a distinguished body. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors, Mr. Landon T. Clay, Mrs. Lavinia D. Clay, and Mr. Thomas Clay for their outstanding stewardship of the Institute since its founding in 1999, and for creating this unparalleled resource for the advancement of mathematics."
Asked about his new position, President-elect Woodhouse said, "I am very honored to be asked to serve as the next president. The CMI is greatly valued and respected by the international mathematics community. Its establishment was a hugely generous and imaginative statement of support for mathematics by the Clay family. It will be a very exciting challenge to take forward the mission of the CMI, and I am very much looking forward to working with the Scientific Advisory Board and the Board of Directors."
The Clay Mathematics Institute was founded in 1999 by Mr. Landon T. Clay, for the purpose of increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. Among its programs are the Clay Research Fellowships, the Clay Research Awards, the Millennium Prize Problems, and an annual summer school.
Nick Woodhouse studied mathematics in Oxford as an undergraduate, leaving in 1970. He then moved to King's College, London, completing his PhD in Mathematics there in 1973. After a further period at King's and a short spell as a post-doc under John Wheeler at Princeton, he returned to Oxford in 1976, first to a junior faculty position, and then, from 1977, as a Fellow of Wadham College. Woodhouse was Chairman of the mathematics department in Oxford from 2001 to 2010 and a member of Council of the London Mathematical Society for ten years, up until 2009, and served as its Treasurer.
Woodhouse's research has centred on applications of geometry in mathematical physics. Initially, he focused on the large-scale geometry of space-time, under the supervision of Felix Pirani, before being drawn into geometric quantization after hearing lectures by David Simms when he was at King's College. Roger Penrose had been appointed to the Rouse Ball Chair in Oxford not long before he returned there in 1976, and the direction since then has very much been inspired by Penrose's unique insights. In recent years Woodhouse has been investigating the application of Penrose's twistor-theoretic ideas to the study of integral systems and of isomonodromy problems.