Category Archives: science

A Proof About Where Symmetries Can’t Exist

Success for Robert Zimmer is defined differently these days. As the president of the University of Chicago since 2006, he’s made headlines for landing nine-figure financial gifts and writing op-eds in defense of campus free speech. But before Zimmer was a university president he was a mathematician. And long after he left serious research behind, the research plan he set in motion is finally paying off.

A year ago a trio of mathematicians solved what’s called Zimmer’s conjecture, which has to do with the circumstances under which geometric spaces exhibit certain kinds of symmetries. Their proof stands as one of the biggest mathematical achievements in recent years. It settles a question that emerged for Zimmer during a period of intense intellectual activity in the … Read the rest