Math scholar one of two to win Sloan prize

Jingyi Chen, assistant professor of Mathematics, has earned his department's first Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He is one of only two Canadian university scientists to receive this prestigious award in 1999.

Competition for the $35,000 US fellowships is fierce, involving nominations of most of the very best young scientists in North America who, according to the foundation, "show the most outstanding promise of making fundamental contributions to new knowledge."

"This is a tremendous honour for the department and UBC," says George Bluman, head of Mathematics. "We are most fortunate that Jingyi joined our department in 1997. Besides being a world class young researcher, he is also a fine teacher."

After completing a master's degree at the University of Beijing in 1986, Chen earned his PhD at Stanford.

Chen, on research leave at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology until the end of the semester, will use the fellowship to continue his research in differential geometry and geometric analysis, particularly the structure of curved spaces.

"The quality and reputation of the Mathematics Dept. is what initially attracted me to UBC," says Chen. "Of course I was aware that the campus and Vancouver are beautiful places to live and work."

The Sloan Research Fellowships were established in 1955 to support and recognize young scientists, often in their first appointments to university faculties. Each year, 100 are awarded in six fields of science; only 20 are given in mathematics.

Since the program began, 21 Sloan fellows have become Nobel laureates.