Rodríguez Hertz awarded Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement

May 10, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Federico Rodríguez Hertz, professor of mathematics at Penn State, has been selected to receive the 2017 Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Physical Sciences. Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of faculty peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.

Rodríguez Hertz is a mathematician who studies how physical objects change in state and behavior over time. This field of mathematics, called ergodic theory, is part of the branch of mathematics known as dynamical systems, and has many applications in statistical mechanics, number theory, and geometry. His doctoral thesis was published in the Annals of Mathematics and made a crucial advance in the field. Rodríguez Hertz also has produced important research in rigidity theory, which describes the flexibility and motion of groups of rigid bodies. His work in nonuniform-measure rigidity has provided new insights into ergodic theory.

“Hertz is one of the best mathematicians of his generation," said a nominator. “He is extremely productive and works on fundamental questions, which already have and will continue to have a strong impact on current and future mathematical research in dynamical systems and beyond.” Another nominator said “his originality as well as a deep understanding of diverse mathematical areas such as geometry, topology, analysis and probability theory allow him to successfully attack problems, which were considered hopeless for a long time.”

Rodríguez Hertz has received several honors in recognition of his pioneering work in mathematics. Among them are the 2015 Brin Prize in Dynamical Systems; an invitation to give an address at the International Congress of Mathematicians in 2010 in Hyderabad, India; a 2009 award from the Mathematical Union for Latin America and the Caribbean; and a 2005 Premio Roberto Caldeyro Barcia Award from Uruguay's Basic Science Development Program.

Rodríguez Hertz has published numerous research papers in peer-reviewed journals such as Annals of Mathematics, Acta Mathematica, Journal of the American Mathematical Society, Inventiones Mathematicae, Contemporary Mathematics, and Journal of Modern Dynamics. In addition, he is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Modern Dynamics. He has served as a referee for many scholarly journals, including Annals of Mathematics and Inventiones Mathematicae, and as an evaluator for the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Cientifico y Tecnologico, a Chilean research foundation promoting basic scientific and technological development in the country. He has given invited talks and workshops in conferences and at academic institutions in the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Poland, Mexico, Germany, Italy, France, Portugal and India.

Before joining Penn State's Eberly College of Science, Rodríguez Hertz was a professor of mathematics in the engineering school at the Universidad de la República in Uruguay, where he had served as a faculty member since 2002. He earned a doctoral degree at the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada in Brazil in 2001.

  • Federico Rodríguez Hertz

    Federico Rodríguez Hertz

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated May 12, 2017