Two graduate students placed in the inaugural Mathematics Doctoral Prize competition

Friday, May 10, 2019

Pure Mathematics PhD students Boyu Li and Ruizhang Jin won second and third places respectively in the inaugural Mathematics Doctoral Prize competition at the University of Waterloo. This new prize will be awarded annually to recognize the achievement of graduating doctoral students in the Faculty of Mathematics. Li will receive a $1,000 award and Jin will receive $500.

A Governor General Silver Medal winner in 2013 for his undergraduate accomplishments, Li completed a Master’s here at Waterloo with Andu Nica, and most recently his PhD under the supervision of Professor Ken Davidson. Active in seminar life, and a highly rated TA, Li has solved mathematical problems that others around him couldn’t solve in the area of dilation theory for semigroups. Davidson notes: “He succeeded in solving a very difficult problem which was not even formulated in this generality by persistence, deep insight, considerable computational dexterity, and lots of hard work.”

Jin worked under the supervision of Rahim Moosa. His work focused on model theory and his thesis studied analyzability for types in differentially closed field. According to Moosa, “Ruizhang’s PhD thesis was an outstanding contribution to the interaction of logic with algebra and geometry.” His thesis has already been recognized as one of the winners of the 2018 Huawei Prize for Best Research Paper in the Faculty of Mathematics, by a glowing external examiner’s report, and by the publication of a 20-page single-authored research article in the Journal of Symbolic Logic.

Li finished his degree in July 2018 with a very strong thesis in operator algebras and Jin defended successfully in January 2019 with the external examiner describing the work as “beautiful” and “very difficult”.