ICTP Prize Announced

The 2023 ICTP Prize is awarded to Mohit Kumar Jolly and Xinan Zhou, and dedicated to Robert McCredie May
ICTP Prize Announced

ICTP Prize 2023 recipients Mohit Kumar Jolly (left) and Xinan Zhou
Giulia Foffano

Every year, the ICTP Prize is awarded to young researchers coming from, and working in, developing countries, recognising the originality and importance of their contributions to physics.
This year’s winners are Mohit Kumar Jolly from India and Xinan Zhou from China. Although their research interests are far apart along the broad spectrum of physics, both have made remarkable and novel contributions to their respective fields by developing new mathematical and computational methods with approaches rooted in theoretical physics. 
Mohit Kumar Jolly of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore receives the 2023 ICTP Prize “for innovative contributions to understanding the emergent dynamics of cellular transitions during cancer metastasis and therapeutic resistance, and for unravelling the latent design principles of cellular networks that can determine a cell’s fate”. 
“Jolly works across different disciplines and applies a physics perspective to the understanding of cancer dynamics. His work has tackled cutting-edge biomedical problems through a first-principles approach to systems dynamics and the integration of mathematical modelling with experimental and clinical data,” explained Matteo Marsili, a senior research scientist in ICTP’s Quantitative Life Science section, and a member of the Prize committee.
Mohit Kumar Jolly has been an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore since 2018. After a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in biological sciences and bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, he obtained a PhD in bioengineering from Rice University, Texas, in 2016. Jolly then spent two years there as a postdoctoral researcher before joining IISc Bangalore.
Xinan Zhou of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Sciences (KITS), University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Beijing, and ShanghaiTech University, is awarded the ICTP Prize “for novel and outstanding contributions leading to new techniques to compute correlation functions in conformal field theories in the context of the AdS/CFT correspondence, and for developing new approaches to the analytic conformal bootstrap”. 
“By setting up a program to compute holographic correlators in supersymmetric conformal field theories from general consistency conditions, Zhou revolutionised the field by making possible calculations that were unthinkable before. Through this technique he was able to solve a problem that had been open for decades and finally found an answer, also unveiling the richness of the underlining mathematical structure,” explained Agnese Bissi, a research scientist in ICTP’s High Energy, Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics section
Zhou has been Assistant Professor at KITS/UCAS since 2021. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei and moved to Stony Brook, in the US, for his PhD. He spent three years as a postdoc at Princeton University before going back to China.
This year’s ICTP Prize is in honour of Robert McCredie May, Baron May of Oxford, for his ground-breaking contributions to theoretical ecology based on insights from theoretical physics. 
Born in Australia, May obtained his PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Sydney, but then shifted his interest to the dynamics of animal populations. His use of mathematical techniques in this field led to major advances in population biology, theoretical ecology and the study of infectious diseases. He is best known for introducing the logistic map, thus showing that complex dynamics can arise from simple models, as well as for his studies on the interplay between biodiversity and the stability of ecosystems, based on random matrix theory. 
Robert M. May was an active promoter of a scientific approach to tackling global problems such as biodiversity loss, climate change and financial stability.
The ICTP Prize ceremony will take place at ICTP in 2024. More details will be shared on our website in due course.

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