04 June 2024

Viazovska supports ICMU by donating her “Talents for Ukraine” KSE Foundation grant

This year Maryna Viazovska received a prize in the "Talents For Ukraine" grant programme from the KSE Foundation, a charitable foundation of the Kyiv School of Economics. Viazovska transferred her award of $25k to the International Centre for Mathematics in Ukraine (ICMU).

"Talents For Ukraine" grants are intended for those who contribute to the development of Ukraine and the world. In 2024, the programme is focused on technology and science: 60% of support will be given to talented individuals advancing Ukraine in these areas.

Viazovska is a recipient of the Fields Medal, the world's highest award for mathematical research. In 2016 she solved the problem of optimal packing of spheres in a high-dimensional space. Her argument was extremely short and elegant, it was a true sensation. Only a few years earlier scientists completed the verification of a solution to this problem in the usual three-dimensional space: the proof of Kepler's hypothesis, formulated at the beginning of the 17th century, took more than 300 pages and partially relied on computer computations. Viazovska's solution took only 20 pages. It combined a wide range of mathematical methods, from analysis and approximation theory, in which she worked since studying at the Kyiv National University, to number theory, which she mastered during her postgraduate studies at the University of Bonn. Viazovska's scientific contributions were recognized by numerous prizes. At the Fields Medal ceremony at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2022, she spoke about Ukraine and the crimes of the Russian occupants and donated money awarded with the Medal to support Ukraine.

Professor Viazovska is the Chair of Number Theory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. In 2022 she remotely taught a course of discrete mathematics at the Kyiv National University. Together with a group of mathematicians of Ukrainian origin, Viazovska founded ICMU and actively takes part in the establishment of the Centre.

"The Centre will serve as a place of intensive collaboration between Ukrainian scientists and their foreign colleagues, a place where aspiring researchers will be learning about the latest mathematical discoveries. While there are reputable mathematics schools and institutions with history in Ukraine, our infrastructure is insufficient. It is essential to provide favourable conditions for professional interaction and exchange of ideas, so that it would be possible to host gatherings with the participation of scientists of different generations, from different countries. Such gatherings are inspiring and there one can learn things one won't read about in any book or hear about at a university. I believe that knowledge resides in the human heart, and the exchange of knowledge is carried from heart to heart," – said Maryna Viazovska in a conversation with journalists in Kyiv.

In the picture: Maryna Viazovska gives a series of lectures on classical and new methods in sphere packing during the school and conference "Numbers in the Universe", the first scientific event organised by the Centre. Kyiv School of Economics, 9 August 2023 © Joseph Sywenkyj