Congratulations to Frances Kirwan

29 Sep 2021, by ablahatherell in News

Congratulations to Professor Dame Frances Kirwan on her recent award of the 2021 Royal Society Sylvester Medal.

The Sylvester Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding researcher in the field of mathematics. The award was created in memory of the mathematician James Joseph Sylvester FRS, who was Savilian Professor of Geometry at the University of Oxford in the 1880s.

Frances received the award for ‘her research on quotients in algebraic geometry, including links with symplectic geometry and topology, which has had many applications’. She has made significant contributions in moduli spaces in algebraic geometry, geometric invariant theory (GIT), and the link between GIT and moment maps in symplectic geometry.  Her work endeavours to understand the structure of geometric objects by subtle investigation of their algebraic and topological properties, and her research led to the introduction of the Kirwan map.

Frances has also striven to address gender imbalance in the mathematics community, as a member of the European Women in Mathematics network and the London Mathematical Society’s Women in Mathematics Committee.

Frances served as member of the Heilbronn External Advisory Board which provides advice and challenge to the Institute’s external programme. Members of the board play an invaluable role in the validation of the Institute’s activities and Frances’s contribution from 2016-2020 was greatly appreciated.  She also served as President of the London Mathematical Society from 2004-2006 and is a recipient of both its Whitehead Prize and Senior Whitehead Prize.


Past winners of the Sylvester Medal are: Bryan Birch in 2020,  Peter Sarnak in 2019, Ben Green in 2014, and John Toland in 2012. You can see a full list of past winners here.



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