Professor Sir Martin Hairer KBE FRS is a professor of Pure Mathematics and Chair in Probability and Stochastic Analysis in the Department of Mathematics, Imperial College, London. His main area of research is the study of stochastic partial differential equations (SPDEs); other research interests include nonequlibrium statistical mechanics, stochastic differential equations, stochastic processes with memory, and the general theory of Markov processes.
The work that led to his Fields medal concerns the mathematical understanding of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs), and in particular, his “breakthrough approach” to resolving the nonlinear KPZ equation proposed by physicists Kardar, Parisi and Zhang in 1986. This, and Prof. Hairer’s subsequent work, develops a general theory of regularity structures that can be applied to a broad class of nonlinear stochastic PDEs, and goes a long way towards removing an obstacle in understanding nonlinear stochastic PDEs. Furthermore, the class of equations to which the theory applies contains several that are of central interest in mathematics and science and potentially opens the way to understanding the phenomenon of universality. His citation for the 2014 Fields medal award notes “his outstanding contributions to the theory of stochastic partial differential equations, and in particular … the creation of a theory of regularity structures for such equations.”
Prof. Hairer’s work in SPDEs has also been recognised with the award of the Institut de Mathématiques de Toulouse’s Fermat Prize (2013) and the London Mathematical Society’s Fröhlich prize (2014) “for his work on the interface between probability theory and partial differential equations; a body of work that is widely recognised as revolutionizing an entire field of research.”
In addition to his mathematical research, Hairer’s interest in music and computer programming led to the creation of Amadeus, an award-winning sound-editing program for Mac, and a popular tool among DJs, music producers and gaming companies.
In the course of his career, Prof. Hairer has received numerous other prizes and honours, including the Whitehead prize and the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2008). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014, and of the American Mathematical Society in 2015. In 2016, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE).