May 23, 2018

Centre de recherches mathematiques
Fields Institute
Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences

October 22, 2010

Gordon Slade,
University of British Columbia

CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize Lecture

The Self-Avoiding Walk

at the Fields Institute, 222 College St., Toronto (map)

photo by Martin Dee

Simple random walk is well understood. However, if we condition a random walk not to intersect itself, so that it is a self-avoiding walk, then it is much more difficult to analyze and many of the important mathematical problems remain unsolved.

This lecture will give an overview of some of what is known about the self-avoiding walk, including some old and some more recent results, using methods that touch on combinatorics, probability, and statistical
Audio & Slides of the Talk

The Directors of the three Institutes, CRM, Fields and PIMS, are pleased to announce that Gordon Slade from the University of British Columbia is the recipient of the 2010 CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize. The award recognises his outstanding work in rigorous statistical mechanics and probability. He is renowned for developing a technique known as the lace expansion into a systematic calculus which he has applied to diverse and famous problems including self-avoiding walk, percolation, branched polymers, random graphs, and numerical techniques for the exact enumeration of self-avoiding walks.

His results address some of the most difficult problems in central areas of probability and statistical physics. These are questions motivated by physical problems which are easy to state (what is the average length of an n-step self-avoiding walk?), but notoriously difficult to solve.

Gordon Slade received his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1977 and completed his Doctoral degree with Lon Rosen and Joel Feldman at the University of British Columbia in 1984. He was Lecturer at the University of Virginia from 1985 to 1986. In 1986 he joined the faculty of McMaster University and since 1999 he has been Professor of Mathematics at the University of British Columbia.

Gordon Slade has been a leader in Canadian Mathematics, having been an organiser of the (98-99) thematic year in probability and its applications at the Fields Institute, co-organiser of the recent CRM-PIMS Programme Challenges and Perspectives in Probability (08-09). He has served on scientific panels of the Fields and Pacific Institutes and is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Mathematics. His stature as one of the world's leading probabilists and mathematical physicists was underlined by his 1994 invitation to the International Congress of Mathematics and his 2004 invitation to lecture at the prestigious St. Flour Summer School.

Previous recipients of the prize are H.S.M. (Donald) Coxeter, George A. Elliott, James Arthur, Robert V. Moody, Stephen A. Cook, Israel Michael Sigal, William T. Tutte, John B. Friedlander, John McKay, Edwin Perkins, Donald A. Dawson, David Boyd, Nicole Tomczak-Jaegermann, Joel Feldman, Allan Borodin and marton Barlow.

Established in 1994, the CRM-Fields Prize recognizes exceptional research in the mathematical sciences. In 2005, PIMS became an equal partner in the prize, and the name was changed to the CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize. A committee appointed by the three institutes chooses the recipient.

The CRM-Fields-PIMS prize is intended to be the premier mathematics prize in Canada. The winner receive a monetary award, and an invitation to present a lecture at each institute during the semester when the award is announced. The prize recognizes exceptional achievement in the mathematical sciences.

To learn more about the prize, please visit
CRM-Fields-PIMS Prize - Call for Nominations

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