MY #SCIENCEHERO IS SIR MICHAEL ATIYAH

We all have our Science heroes that we look up to and from whom we draw our inspiration. Tell us who your science hero is. Let us know who has inspired you to enter your scientific field and we will share Your Story with the world. #ScienceHero

felix with micheal atiyah

Story by Felix Günther

My personal science hero is Sir Michael Atiyah, who was awarded both the Fields Medal and the Abel Prize. In collaboration with Isadore Singer, he proved the famous index theorem that linked two different fields of mathematics, namely analysis and topology. At the time of their discovery, no physicist expected to profit from this result. Atiyah realized that physicists were actually working on similar things in their own language. His firm belief that there should be links between mathematics and physics, and his work partnership with the physicist Edward Witten, had a tremendous impact on the further development of index theory in mathematics and on the foundation of string theory in physics.

Atiyah influenced and inspired many mathematicians and physicists around the world, and I am one of them. At the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, I had the opportunity to interact with him regarding my research on a discretization of the theory holomorphic spinors Atiyah developed. Again, he linked mathematics and physics by encouraging me to continue my efforts and telling me of a group of experimental physicists who are working in a somewhat similar direction.

Falling Walls Lab gives all of us the chance to build bridges between different sciences. Use the platform to tell the wider community about you and your science. It matters!

Felix Günther, Researcher at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques
Falling Walls Lab Participant 2014
Get to know Felix Here

Lab presentation: https://vimeo.com/113485605

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