When researchers classify objects, they create an order that may contributes to new knowledge. For example, when chemists organized the elements into the periodic table, they improved the understanding of the elements’ properties. Biologists classify flora and fauna to understand how they are related.
Researchers in mathematics also work on classifying objects to better understand them.
Professor Hannes Thiel at the University of Kiel, Germany, works on analysing and classifying operator algebras – more specifically, C*-algebras.
"I learned about C*-algebras in 2005, when I studied in Berkely for a year during my undergraduate education. I found the topic so fascinating that I decided to specialize in it" says Hannes Thiel.
C*-algebras were introduced in mathematics in the 1930s, partly motivated by advances in quantum mechanics. Since then, they have been much-studied. After a series of breakthroughs, researchers have succeeded in classifying a specific family of these algebras. Hannes Thiel will use methods in order theory that he helped develop and investigate how they can be used to determine when a specific C*-algebra belongs to the classified family.
Hannes Thiel's research is focused on the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum information, which are important for high-energy physics, such as nuclear fusion, but also in the field of quantum computers. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, he will be active at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and will have the opportunity to focus entirely on his ambitious research plan in C * algebra.
"I will use this opportunity to address one of the most prominent open problems in the field, the solution of which will significantly improve our understanding of the fine structure of C * algebra", he says.
Four Wallenberg Academy Fellows to Chalmers 2021
The research funding from the Wallenberg Academy Fellowship amounts to between SEK 5 and 15 million per researcher over five years, depending on the subject area. After the end of the first period, researchers have the opportunity to apply for another five years of funding. Read about the other appointments: