Alexander von Humboldt Professorship 2024

David Damanik

In his capacity as an outstanding mathematician with a focus on mathematical physics, David Damanik is invited to further enhance Bielefeld University’s profile in this field and represent subject areas that are as yet underrepresented in Germany.

  • Nominating university: Bielefeld University
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David Damanik is a world-leading researcher in mathematical physics. He is known for having solved difficult, long-standing mathematical problems, and he constantly advances his research field. He has a particular ability to see individual mathematical areas in a broader specialist context and connect them with one another, an example being his cooperation with the mathematician and Fields Medal winner, Artur Ávila, on spectral properties of Schrödinger operators for which he employed ideas derived from the theory of dynamical systems. The latter are mathematical models that are used in various processes, such as calculating climate models in physics or population figures in biology. Schrödinger operators are calculation rules in quantum mechanics. They make it possible to calculate the physical properties of atoms, molecules, solids and simple biological systems. 

David Damanik has been working together with researchers at Bielefeld University for many years. In 2018, he was granted a Humboldt Research Award which allowed him to spend various periods of time there. Now, David Damanik is invited to assume a Humboldt Professorship in Bielefeld and reinforce its existing focus on mathematical physics. By engaging in training junior researchers and pursuing linkages to physics and the Faculty of Technology he will help turn the focus area into an international beacon. His expertise is set to complement two ongoing collaborative research centres funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), one of which involves Humboldt Professor William Crawley-Boevey (CRC/TRR 358, Integral Structures in Geometry and Representation Theory). The long-term goal is to create an internationally visible centre for mathematical physics in Bielefeld.

Brief bio

David Damanik read mathematics and informatics at Goethe University Frankfurt where he also completed his doctorate in mathematics in 1998. He subsequently continued his career in the United States, holding various positions at the University of California, Irvine (2000-2001), and Caltech, Pasadena (1999-2000 and 2001-2006). In 2006, he relocated to Rice University in Houston, Texas, as an associate professor, becoming a full professor in 2009 and chair-holder in 2011. Since 2015, he has been the Robert L. Moody Sr. Professor.
Damanik is a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. In 2018, he was granted a Humboldt Research Award. In 2012 and 2020, he was a fellow of the Simons Foundation which pursues the goal of expanding the boundaries of mathematical and basic research. In 2014, he received the AHP Prize, an award for the most outstanding paper published that year in the journal Annales Henri Poincaré.

David Damanik has been selected for a Humboldt Professorship and is currently conducting appointment negotiations with the German university that nominated him for the award. If the negotiations end successfully, the award will be granted in 2024.