American Mathematical Society Honors Trio of Faculty with Top Research Prize

A trio of School of Mathematics faculty have received top honors from the American Mathematical Society, with Professor Jennifer Hom taking home the 2024 Levi L. Conant Prize, and Professors Greg Blekherman and Thang Le selected as 2024 AMS Fellows.

November 22, 2023

The American Mathematical Society (AMS) recently announced top honors for three School of Mathematics professors, including a top research award and a pair of faculty recognized as AMS Fellows for their work in advancing the field.

Levi L. Conant Prize

School of Mathematics Associate Professor Jennifer (Jen) Hom has received the 2024 Levi L. Conant Prize from the AMS. The award recognizes the best expository paper published in either Notices of the AMS or Bulletin of the AMS in the preceding five years. Hom is recognized for her paper, “Getting a handle on the Conway knot,” which was published in the Bulletin in 2021.

“These awards partially signal the depth and breadth of accomplishment and influence of these three remarkable scholars," says School of Mathematics Chair Mike Wolf. "Jen’s tribute is for her how she was able to communicate the clarity of her understanding of fundamental and difficult mathematics to a wide audience, creating a resource that will affect mathematics and mathematicians for many years."

“I am honored to receive the 2024 Levi L. Conant Prize,” Hom says. “An extremely important but often undervalued part of our job as mathematicians is communication, and I’m grateful to the AMS for valuing high-quality exposition in their publications.” 

Hom adds that she’s “proud to be in the company of my esteemed former colleague Dan Margalit,” who won the Conant Prize in 2021. Margalit then served as a Mathematics Professor at Georgia Tech, and is now Stephenson Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics at Vanderbilt University.

AMS cited Hom’s article as “a wonderful resource for the community on timely and important material,” adding that “Hom’s paper packs a remarkable amount of knot theory into 11 pages, but remains clear, engaging, and easy to read throughout. Readers are left with new understanding and a sense of excitement for the future of this field.”

American Mathematical Society Fellows

Last year, Hom was also recognized as an AMS Fellow for her topology research and service to the mathematical community.

This season, two fellow School of Mathematics faculty, Professor Greg Blekherman and Professor Thang Le, also have joined those ranks.

“Thang and Greg received a distinction reserved for only the top few percent of research mathematicians nationwide," Wolf says. "Thang was singled out for his deep work in the creation and development of the fairly new subject of quantum topology over the last quarter century as well as for that subject’s implications for the very classic area of low-dimensional topology. Quantum topology is now a vast area, but many of its most prominent achievements came about through the work of Thang.

“Greg’s work courses through and blends algebraic and convex geometry as well as combinatorics and optimization — and also mathematical biology," Wolf explains. "Most notably, Greg is known for his diverse and important contributions to the theory of nonnegative and “sum of squares” polynomials, a hugely important topic in contemporary optimization theory.

Blekherman and Le are among more than three dozen mathematical scientists from around the world named 2024 AMS Fellows — a cohort which also includes Kasso Okoudjou, a former School of Mathematics Ph.D. student advised by Professor Christopher Heil

“It is my pleasure to congratulate and welcome the new class of AMS Fellows, honored for their outstanding contributions to the mathematical sciences and to our profession,” notes AMS President Bryna Kra. "This year's class was selected from a large and excellent pool of candidates, highlighting the many ways in which our profession is advanced, and I look forward to working with them in service to our community."

“The school is just thrilled by these well-deserved awards to our wonderful colleagues," Wolf added.

About Jennifer (Jen) Hom

Hom joined Georgia Tech as an assistant professor in 2015 after she served as a Ritt Assistant Professor at Columbia University. She has been an associate professor in the School of Mathematics since 2018. Hom’s research centers on low-dimensional topology, which she usually studies using Heegaard Floer homology. She was asked to speak in the topology section of the 2022 International Congress of Mathematicians, the world’s largest gathering of mathematicians. Hom has held a Sloan Fellowship and a Simons Fellowship, is an AMS Fellow, and holds a National Science Foundation CAREER award. 

About Greg Blekherman

Blekherman, who joined Georgia Tech in 2011, is a 2012 recipient of the Sloan Research Fellowship. His research interests lie at the intersection of convex and algebraic geometry. Blekherman received his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of Michigan under the direction of Alexander Barvinok, and he has held postdoctoral positions at the Microsoft Research Theory Group, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Institute for Pure and Applied Math (UCLA) and UC San Diego before joining Georgia Tech.

About Thang Le

Le received his M.S. and Ph.D. from Lomonosov Moscow State University, and joined Georgia Tech in 2003. His research interests include differential topology, 3-manifolds, knot theory, and quasicrystals. He serves as an editor of Quantum Topology, The Journal of Knot Theory and Its Ramifications, and Acta Mathematica Vietnamica. 

Read the AMS press releases on the 2024 Conant Prize and AMS Fellows here.

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Writer: Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer II/Science Writer
College of Sciences

Editor: Jess Hunt-Ralston