SIAM News Blog

Prize Spotlight: Gene S. Kopp

Gene S. Kopp

Gene S. Kopp of University of Bristol received the 2018 SIAM Student Paper Prize and presented his winning paper at the SIAM Annual Meeting, held July 9-13, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. SIAM recognized Kopp for his paper, “The Arithmetic Geometry of Resonant Rossby Wave Triads,” published in SIAM Journal on Applied Algebra and Geometry in 2017.

The SIAM Student Paper Prize recognizes outstanding scholarship by students in applied mathematics and computing as evidenced in a paper accepted for publication in a SIAM journal. The Student Paper Prize is awarded annually to the student authors of the most outstanding papers accepted by a SIAM journal. The award is based solely on the merit and content of the candidate’s contribution to the paper.

Gene S. Kopp received his PhD in Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2017. He is currently on a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Bristol. His research is in number theory and arithmetic geometry and related applied problems in nonlinear dispersion and quantum information theory.

Q: Why are you excited about winning the SIAM Student Paper Prize?

A: I am honored to have my paper selected by SIAM out of the many excellent student papers published in SIAM journals. I am also very excited about the future prospects for the application of arithmetic geometry to dispersive partial differential equations. I believe this is a promising area, which mathematicians have only begun to explore.

Gene S. Kopp (right) of the University of Bristol was awarded the SIAM Student Paper Prize from SIAM President Nick Higham (left) at the 2018 SIAM Annual Meeting.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about the research that won you the prize?

A: My research applies tools from number theory and algebraic geometry to a problem arising from fluid dynamics. In a mathematical model for atmospheric Rossby waves, resonant triples of waves are described by integer solutions to an equation of four variables. I found an explicit formula for all the integer solutions to this equation, as well as a description of certain "fibers" of solutions (such as wave packets that only move in the north-south direction).

Q: What does your research mean to the public?

A: Rossby waves are a major influence on the weather. Cold snaps caused by a weak "polar vortex" have been linked to Rossby wave resonance (and might be becoming more common due to climate change). My research is a small step towards better modelling the dynamics of Rossby waves and Earth's atmosphere. It could also be applied to the study of weather on other planets, such as Jupiter.

Q: What does being a SIAM member mean to you?

A: Problems that seem intractable in one domain can sometimes be solved once the tools or perspectives of a different domain are brought to bear. SIAM fosters connections between mathematicians and scientists and advances research by enabling ideas to cross the barriers between disciplines. As a problem-solver with a variety of interests, I find it especially important to discuss mathematics with people with a wide range of backgrounds.

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