Professor Shing-Tung YAU awarded the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences 2023

The Hong Kong Academy of Sciences(ASHK) congratulates Prof. Shing-Tung YAU on his being awarded the Shaw Prize in Mathematical Sciences 2023, in recognition of his contributions related to differential geometry and to Kähler geometry.

Prof. Shing-Tung YAU is currently Director of Yau Mathematical Sciences Center at Tsinghua University, PRC. He studied Mathematics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) from 1966 to 1969 and received a PhD in 1971 from the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He was a member (1971–1972) of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton, USA and Assistant Professor (1972–1974) at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA. He joined Stanford University, USA where he was successively Associate Professor and Full Professor (1974–1979). He returned to IAS in 1980, where he has been appointed Professor (1980–1984). In 1984, he moved to the University of California at San Diego, USA as Professor (1984–1987). He then joined Harvard University, USA, where he has been a Distinguished Professor (from 1987), Director of Institute of Mathematical Sciences (from 1994) and also Professor at the Department of Physics (from 2013), becoming Emeritus in 2022. He has been a Distinguished Professor-at-Large at CUHK since 2003. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and honorary member of ASHK.

Prof. Yau developed systematically partial differential equation methods in differential geometry. With these, he solved the Calabi conjecture, for which he was awarded the Fields medal in 1982, the existence of Hermitian Yang–Mills connections (with Uhlenbeck), and the positive mass conjecture (with Schoen) for which they used the theory of minimal surfaces. He introduced geometric methods to important problems in general relativity, which led for example to Schoen–Yau’s black-hole existence theorem and to an intrinsic definition of quasi-local mass in general relativity.

His work on the existence of a Kähler–Einstein metric led to the solution to the Calabi conjecture, and to the concept of Calabi–Yau manifolds, which are cornerstones both in string theory and in complex geometry. The Strominger−Yau−Zaslow construction has had a major impact on mirror symmetry.

His work (with P Li) on heat kernel estimates and differential Harnack inequalities has changed the analysis of geometric equations on manifolds. It has influenced the development of optimal transportation and Hamilton’s work on Ricci flow.

Prof. Yau contributed to the fusion of geometry and analysis, now known as geometric analysis. His work has had a deep and lasting impact on both mathematics and theoretical physics.

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