Canadian Association of Physicists ASSOCIATION CANADIENNE DES


2004 CAP/CRM Prize in Theoretical Physics

will be awarded to

Dr. Jiri Patera

"I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the honor of being awarded the CAP/CRM Prize. The honor of this award should be shared with all my collaborators and students."

Dr. Jiri PateraThe Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2004 CAP/CRM Prize in Theoretical Physics is being awarded to Dr. Jiri Patera of the University of Montreal for his outstanding contributions to the Lie group theory in physics and his more recent work in the mathematical study of aperiodic long range order.

Dr. Jiri Patera came to the Universite de Montreal in 1965 as a postdoctoral fellow and started to work on the applications of Lie group theory in physics. This is the field in which he really made his mark and to which he is faithful to this day. Between 1965 and 1972 he wrote a series of papers on the constructive representation theory of compact Lie groups. This period of his research culminated in the publication of a very useful book of tables ( J.Patera and D. Sankoff, Branching rules for representations of Lie algebras, Montreal, 1973 ). These tables were later considerably expanded, complemented by a theoretical section and further material and published by Marcel Dekker in 1981 (W.G.McKay and J.Patera, Tables of dimensions, indices and branching rules for representations of simple Lie algebras). This second book became a virtual "bible" for elementary particle physicists, working on the standard model, its immediate predecessors and later generalizations. The book can be found in physics libraries all over the world.

In 1982 Jiri Patera started a very fruitful and long term collaboration with R. Moody ( of Kac-Moody algebra fame). Their first joint article was a very important one. In a 5 page article in the Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. they proposed a method for calculating dominant weight multiplicities in arbitrary representations of arbitrary semi-simple Lie groups. Arbitrary here really means arbitrary: the method has been successfully tried out for representations with dimensions in the trillions!

Most of J.Patera's work since 1992 has been on a new subject, more related to condensed matter physics than to particle physics. This can be somewhat loosely called the mathematical theory of of quasicrystals, or more accurately the mathematical study of aperiodic long range order. This new field of research, essentially invented in the pioneering papers of J.Patera and R.Moody has now become fashionable and has attracted many devotees.

Every distinguished theoretical, or mathematical physicist has a certain "signature", characterizing his research . In J.Patera's case thisignature is that he attacks and solves a problem in its generality, where others have only looked at special low dimensional and simple cases. He uses the entire power of Lie group and Lie algebra theory to treat problems originating in physics. He is never content with solving a problem "in principle". He takes his results all the way to computer programs, software, tables and even patents. He has a good taste in the choice of problems, so he uses his time well. He attracts famous physicists and mathematicians to collaborate on problems that he suggests, as well as numerous students and postdoctoral fellows.

The CAP-CRM medal award is extremely well merited.

The annual CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics was first introduced in 1995. Dr. Patera will receive the 2004 Prize during the CAP's awards banquet to be held at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg on June 15th, 2004.

The Canadian Association of Physicists, founded in 1945, is a professional association representing over 1600 individual physicists and physics students in Canada, the U.S. and overseas, as well as a number of Corporate and Departmental Members. In addition to its learned activities, the CAP also undertakes a number of activities intended to encourage students to pursue a career in physics.

The Centre de recherches mathématiques is a national research centre in mathematics and theoretical physics jointly supported by the federal government, the province of Quebec, and the Université de Montréal where it is based. Among the activities of the CRM are thematic years, summer schools, workshops, seminars, and the publication of monographs, proceedings, and lecture notes in mathematics and physics.

For more information, please contact:

Canadian Association of Physicists
Tel: (613) 562-5614
Fax: (613) 562-5615

or Centre de recherche mathématiques
Tel: (514) 343-7501
Fax: (514) 343-2254