A special honor for a splendid scientist

13. July 2023

Former HITS group leader Anna Wienhard received recognition as a “HITS Fellow”, the highest distinction that the institute awards. The award ceremony was part of a “Math Colloquium” with two distinguished speakers.

HITS Fellow Anna Wienhard (left) and Scientific Director Tilmann Gneiting (Photo: HITS)

Mathematician Anna Wienhard, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in Leipzig, has been awarded the highest distinction of her former affiliation, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS). The ceremony at the Studio Villa Bosch in Heidelberg was embedded in a “Math Colloquium” with two scientific talks to honor her achievements at the institute where she had been active for seven years.

Five points and geometry from the inside: The Math Colloquium

Steve Trettel, University of San Francisco, California/USA, gave a talk on “Geometry from the Inside.” He presented a menagerie of curved and twisted worlds. These new geometries have greatly expanded our mathematical universe and found applications from describing the curvature of space-time to representing data in machine learning. 

Richard Schwartz, Brown University, Rhode Island/USA, spoke about “5 Point Energy Minimization”. He presented a proof that used computer algebra, interval arithmetic, and symmetrization, with a computer demo showing the proof in action. Both talks can be viewed on the HITS YouTube channel (Trettel: https://youtu.be/o-1f2vJy52k ; Schwartz: https://youtu.be/JKUyzgjitE0).

Steve Trettel (Photo: HITS)
Richard Schwartz (Photo: HITS)

After the talks, HITS Scientific Director Tilmann Gneiting bestowed Anna Wienhard the award of a HITS Fellow. In her acceptance words, Anna Wienhard emphasized the interdisciplinary atmosphere at the Institute. “Over the years, it had a huge impact on my further development”, she said. “HITS is a special place, and it has been very special for me.”

Anna Wienhard – a journey in geometry

Anna Wienhard received her doctorate in 2004 at Bonn University, Germany. From 2007 to 2012 she was Assistant Professor at Princeton University, USA. In 2012, Anna Wienhard accepted the Chair of Differential Geometry at Heidelberg University. In the same year, she received an ERC Consolidator Grant. In 2015, Anna Wienhard joined HITS as leader of the associated group “Groups and Geometry”, in addition to her professorship. Since October 2020, she has also been Scientific Chairperson of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation that organizes the annual Heidelberg Laureate Forum (HLF). During her time at HITS, she contributed to the HITS Lab, and she established the Research Station Geometry & Dynamics at Heidelberg University. In 2021, Anna Wienhard was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant. She left HITS to become Director at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences in November 2022. Anna Wienhard has received numerous honors and awards. She is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society and elected member of both the Heidelberg and Berlin-Brandenburg Academies of Science, as well as of the European Academy of Science.

HITS Fellows

“HITS Fellow” is the highest distinction that the institute awards. It is given to scientists in recognition of outstanding contributions to defining and implementing the scientific agenda of HITS and exceptional service to the institute. Up to now, the HITS Fellows were the bioinformatician Isabel Rojas (1968-2013) and the astrophysicist Volker Springel, who was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching in 2018.

Press Contact:
Dr. Peter Saueressig
Head of Communications
Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS)
Tel: +49 6221 533 245

About HITS

HITS, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, was established in 2010 by physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira (1940-2015) and the Klaus Tschira Foundation as a private, non-profit research institute. HITS conducts basic research in the natural, mathematical, and computer sciences. Major research directions include complex simulations across scales, making sense of data, and enabling science via computational research. Application areas range from molecular biology to astrophysics. An essential characteristic of the Institute is interdisciplinarity, implemented in numerous cross-group and cross-disciplinary projects. The base funding of HITS is provided by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.

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