CMS Krieger-Nelson Prize

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The CMS Krieger-Nelson Prize was inaugurated in 1995 to recognize outstanding research by a female mathematician. The Prize is jointly named for Cecelia Krieger and Evelyn Nelson – two women who have had a profound impact in the area of mathematical research in Canada.

Born in Poland, Cecelia Krieger began studying mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto in 1920. In 1930, Krieger became the first woman – and only the third person overall - to earn a mathematics doctorate from a Canadian University. She taught mathematics and physics at the University of Toronto until her retirement in 1962. She is best known for her translation of Sierpinski's celebrated Introduction to General Topology (1934) and General Topology (1952).

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Evelyn Nelson began her studies at the University of Toronto before transferring to McMaster University. Described as their star undergraduate, her master’s thesis was published in the Canadian Journal of Mathematics and her Ph.D thesis was completed just after the birth of her first child. Throughout her career, which was tragically cut short with her death in 1987, she presented close to 30 invited lectures outside Canada, refereed for ten journals, and served on several CMS committees, including the Board of Directors.


For information about past recipients visit: Krieger-Nelson Prize

    • Stephanie van Willigenburg
      University of British Columbia

      Prof. van Willigenburg is a leading expert in algebraic combinatorics, a vibrant area of mathematics that connects with many other fields of study including representation theory, algebraic geometry, mathematical physics, topology and probability. Her research and subsequent discoveries have focused on Schur functions, skew Schur functions and quasisymmetric Schur functions, central topics within the field of algebraic combinatorics.

    An introduction to quasisymmetric Schur functions
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    In algebraic combinatorics a central area of study is Schur functions. These functions were introduced early in the last century with respect to representation theory, and since then have become important in other areas such as quantum physics and algebraic geometry. These functions also form a basis for the algebra of symmetric functions, which in turn forms a subalgebra of the algebra of quasisymmetric functions that itself impacts areas from category theory to card shuffling. Despite this strong connection, the existence of a natural quasisymmetric refinement of Schur functions was considered unlikely for many years. In this talk we will meet such a natural refinement of Schur functions, called quasisymmetric Schur functions. Furthermore, we will see how these quasisymmetric Schur functions refine many well-known Schur function properties, with combinatorics that strongly reflects the classical case including diagrams, walks in the plane, and pattern avoidance in permutations. This talk will require no prior knowledge of any of the above terms.