In cooperation with the Einstein Foundation Berlin, the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) of the Cluster of Excellence MATH+ awards up to three annual prizes for outstanding dissertations to BMS graduates. We are delighted to announce that the MATH+ Dissertation Award 2022 have been presented to Dr. Luzie Helfmann, Dr. Patrick Morris, and Dr. Yizheng Yuan for their excellent theses. Congratulations!


Photo (from left to right): Michael Hintermüller (MATH+ Chair), Tibor Szabó (Advisor P. Morris), Patrick Morris (Awardee), Luzie Helfmann (Awardee),
Christof Schütte (MATH+ Co-Chair, Advisor L. Helfmann), Holger Reich (BMS Chair) | © Beate Rogler / MATH+


Luzie Helfmann

© Private
© Private

After High School (Abitur), Luzie Helfmann moved from Germany to England to study Mathematics and Physics at the University College London from 2012 to 2016. Upon returning to Berlin, she enrolled at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) to obtain her Master’s degree in Mathematics, successfully graduating in 2019 with a Master’s thesis on “Stochastic Modeling of Interacting Agent Systems.” She continued her doctoral studies at FU Berlin and the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research under the supervision of Christof Schütte and graduated with a PhD in 2022. Following her doctoral studies, she joined the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB) as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on model reductions of social dynamics. In June 2023, Luzie Helfmann became part of the Climate Policy Team at Climate Analytics, a global institute for climate science and policy. Within her role as a Data Scientist, she contributes to several projects through modeling and software development, including the Climate Action Tracker.  

Dissertation: “Non-stationary Transition Path Theory with Applications to Tipping and Agent-Based Model 
Many complex systems can tip, that is, change from one very stable state to another, possibly with dramatic consequences. Not only the climate system has this tipping potential, but also social systems, such as when public opinions drastically shift or when social movements arise. The dissertation aimed to develop ways to quantify and understand these transition or tipping events in social dynamics modeled with agent-based models. To achieve this, the dissertation builds on an existing theory called Transition Path Theory that allows quantifying transition paths. However, real-world dynamics that exhibit tipping behavior are often time-dependent and can be quite high-dimensional. Therefore, Transition Path Theory was extended to work with time-dependent dynamics, and it was demonstrated how the theory could be combined with model reduction methods to handle large-scale systems. 

Patrick Morris 

© Jiselle Steele
© Jiselle Steele
Patrick Morris started his mathematical career in the UK at the University of Bristol with a 4 year Msci in Mathematics (2011-2015) before coming to Berlin, where he graduated with an MSc in Mathematics from FU Berlin in 2017. He then continued his doctoral studies in the same Combinatorics and Graph Theory group of the Mathematics department at the FU Berlin under the supervision of Tibor Szabó and completed his PhD in 2021. Since April 2022, Patrick Morris has been a postdoctoral researcher in the GAPCOMB group at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona, hosted by Guillem Perarnau and funded by a Walter Benjamin Fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). After that, he will receive a Marie Curie grant for the next 2 years. His research interests are extremal and probabilistic combinatorics and design theory. He recently got his main result from his thesis accepted by the Journal of the European Mathematical Society (JEMS). In his spare time, he is a DJ and has a radio show on Radio Banda Larga (RBL) called "Fluid Dynamics."
Dissertation: “Clique Factors: Extremal and Probabilistic Perspectives” 
Suppose you are organizing a wedding seating plan, and each table seats exactly x people (e.g., x=10). Is it possible to have a plan with any 2 people on the same table being friends? In mathematical terms, this asks if a certain graph (the friendship network of guests) has a clique factor (the seating plan). This is a hard question, and the answer depends heavily on the network. Intuitively, it should be easier if the guests are well connected, and it has been a major theme in Combinatorics since the 60s to formalize this. This thesis proves that certain pseudorandom conditions (saying the network “looks” random) imply that clique factors exist. For x= 3, these conditions are optimal, and the result confirms a famous conjecture of Krivelevich, Sudakov, and Szabó (thesis advisor) from 2004. 

Yizheng Yuan 

© Private
© Private
Yizheng Yuan enjoyed getting to know all three math institutes of the major Berlin universities, starting at FU Berlin in Mathematics with a minor in Economics. After graduating from FU Berlin in 2015, he moved to HU Berlin where he became interested in the Schramm-Löwner Evolution (SLE), which was the subject of his Master’s Thesis “Regularity Properties of Schramm-Löwner Evolution.” He was a PhD student at Technische Universität Berlin under the supervision of Peter K. Friz (2018-2022) and joined the BMS and MATH+ in 2020. His commitment to the BMS and the Berlin mathematical landscape has been displayed many times, as a student seminar speaker in the embedded IRTG 2544, as a speaker in the 9th BMS Student Conference, and as pre-speaker to the IRTG lecture of Nina Holden. Since October 2022, he has been a postdoc at the Department of Pure Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics of the University of Cambridge (UK) with Jason Miller (PI). His research focuses on random conformal geometry, in particular Löwner chains, SLE, Gaussian multiplicative chaos, and Liouville Brownian motion.
Dissertation: “Schramm-Loewner Evolution and Path Regularity” 
In the early 2000s, only a handful of mathematicians were concerned themselves with a newly constructed and somewhat strange-looking object called Schramm-Loewner evolution (SLE). Today, about twenty years later, SLE is present everywhere in current research in probability, particularly random conformal geometry and statistical physics. It is essentially the unique random curve in the plane that has certain symmetries, and its prominence and ubiquity are somewhat comparable to that of Brownian motion. The dissertation digs into some fundamental questions regarding these random curves, ranging from characterizing in which sense they are “non-self-crossing” to quantifying their regularities. 


BMS Alumnus Martin Skrodzki received the 2023 SIAG/GD Early Career Prize at the 2023 SIAM Conference on Computational Geometric Design (GD23) on 05 July 2023 in Genoa (Italy), which is part of the International Geometry Summit 2023Congratulations from the BMS and MATH+!

The Early Career Prize of the SIAM Activity Group on Geometric Design (SIAG/GD), established in 2018, is awarded to an outstanding early career researcher in the field of geometric design and processing for distinguished contributions to the field in the five calendar years prior to the year of the award.

SIAM GD Chair Hendrik Speleers (left) with awardee Martin Skrodzki (right) | Photos: © Henriette Lipschütz

Martin Skrodzki received his PhD from Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) under the supervision of MATH+ member Konrad Polthier and with the support of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS). He is currently an assistant professor at TU Delft in the group of Computer Graphics and Visualization. His research on 3D-scanning, point clouds, denoising, and visualization, as well as his novel activities on illustrations of mathematics, are described as exceptional.

Commenting on his award, Skrodzki said: “This award is a tangible recognition of the hard work and dedication me and my collaborators have put into this research. It validates our efforts, and we are both humbled and excited about this distinction. It will open up new opportunities, which can help me continuously develop myself as a researcher and further my career.”

He studied mathematics and computer science in Dortmund (Germany), Laredo (USA), and Berlin, where he graduated with a Dr. rer. nat. in 2019 from FU Berlin. While doing his PhD, he was also a member of the C05 Project "Computational and structural aspects in multi-scale shape interpolation" of the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) “Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics” SFB Transregio 109, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). After obtaining his PhD, he held postdoctoral positions at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Mathematics (ICERM) at Brown University, the RIKEN Institute (Japan), where he was funded by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), and at TU Delft (Netherlands) with support of the Walter-Benjamin-Program of the DFG.

Martin Skrodzki’s research interests include the visualization of high-dimensional data, discrete geometry processing as well as interactions between mathematics and art. They are also set between Computer Science and Mathematics. He is concerned about all issues related to point and data sets. This includes the acquisition of point sets via 3D-scanning or higher-dimensional forms of data collection as well as their processing afterwards. Key terms for the latter are denoising, cluster algorithms, and visualization. In regard to visualization, he is interested in illustrations of mathematics in the broadest sense, including, e.g., virtual reality, 3D printing, and computer animations.

Please visit the personal homepage of Martin Skrodzki for more information.

On the occasion of the 30th Kovalevskaya Lunch on 12 May, the “International Women in Math Day”, Tanja Fagel, MATH+ Gender & Diversity Manager, gave us interesting insights into the popular tradition of the lunch in an interview. She describes the importance of the event for young female mathematicians, who experience female professors very closely as role models and can ask burning questions in a direct exchange.


The “Kovalevskaya Lunch” is coming up to its 30th anniversary this year, Congratulations! How will you celebrate?
It is a great reason to celebrate! Especially because the Lunch is being held on “International Women in Mathematics Day”, which is the 12 May. So it will be a double celebration.

Why was this event named after the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891)?
Sophia Kovalevskaya is a fantastic role model, because she was the first woman professor for mathematics worldwide, and she stood up for the right of all women to an education. The idea of the Kovalevskaya Lunch is to introduce women mathematicians to one another, giving young scientists a chance to get to know other, more experienced women in their field who can serve as role models.

What was the reason and the goal for introducing this format and the event?
It is still the case that fewer women complete their doctorate in mathematics than men. Therefore, there are relatively few women professors of mathematics as role models for young women. On average, only about 12 percent of math professors are women. That means it can easily happen that a woman student or doctoral candidate completes an entire study course without having come across a single woman professor. The Kovalevskaya Lunch aims to help redress this balance in a small way. The young women get the opportunity to meet a woman mathematician, get to know her, and ask her questions. There might be questions that they would not ask a man in the same position. The lunch itself is quite informal, with a few snacks and a pleasant atmosphere. At the beginning of the event, every participant takes a short moment to introduce herself. This makes it easier to ask questions later. Everyone is also provided with a name tag so it is easier to remember one another’s names. Often the participants are still busy talking long after the Lunch is over, when they get a chance to network and to maybe meet up again at the next Lunch.

Do you have a personal highlight from all of the Kovalevskaya Lunches? Which women mathematicians have fascinated you the most?
I have enjoyed all of the Kovalevskaya Lunches immensely. The guests and their career paths have been very diverse, and that is the beauty of it. I especially remember Ingrid Daubchies (at the Lunch on 11 November 2011), who strongly urged the young women present to be very particular in their choice of life partner. It is enormously important that it is someone who is willing and able to support them. In a very different way, Sujatha Ramdorai (at the Lunch on 2 June 2017) was also special because of her tremendous energy. She was so unbelievably inspiring, captivating the young women – and me too. Another very different experience was with Maryna Viazovska (Lunch on 13 May 2022), who explained beautifully how mathematics gives her strength, especially since Ukraine had entered into a war only a few months previously, which was a huge challenge for Marya as a Ukrainian woman. Nevertheless, she exuded this calmness and she is in possession of a very engaging dry sense of humor – I will also certainly remember that Lunch for a very long time.For me, the great charm of this event lies in hearing from these different characters, how they have handled challenges and doubts, what they find frustrating, and what or who in one way or another has given them strength or enriched them. That is very individual. I always find it interesting to hear the next guest, and I would like to advise our women students, doctoral students and postdocs to take part in several Kovalevskaya Lunches and encourage those who have not yet been to sign up for it.

How do young BMS/MATH+ women mathematicians respond to the offer?
It varies. I experience young women who come to almost every Lunch during their time at the BMS and are real fans of it. And then there are some that do not take advantage of the offer. The offer is voluntary and that is a good thing. A few years ago at a BMS celebration, a doctoral candidate approached me who was just about to finish her PhD. She told me how grateful she was to me for what I organized at the BMS. At the beginning of her master’s degree she had not understood why there were events just for women. During the course of her PhD she realized how important that offer had been for her and how much strength it had given her. Then she thanked me and hugged me with tears in her eyes. That was an overwhelming moment for me.

What would you wish for in terms of your work in “Gender & Diversity“?
There is a lot and this is just a small selection. Above all, I wish for more men to speak out for gender equality, equal opportunities, and fairness. That the insight prevails that it is the structures that hinder women and also other marginalized groups and that the women and marginalized groups themselves are not the problem. That excellence and gender equality are not in opposition to one another, but should only be addressed in combination. That more fathers take parental leave for just as long as mothers, and that this becomes even more natural. That young parents get so much support from their working environment that they can manage their family and their work without burning out. That the professorate gets more colorful in every way. And to close the circle: That women mathematicians are not only invited to the Kovalevskaya Colloquia, but also more often to the regular MATH+ Fridays. In some semesters that has already worked really well.

Thank you very much for the interview and the interesting insights and reviews!

Beate Rogler

After a two-year break, we are happy that the BMS Days 2023 took place in person again on 20 and 21 February at the Magnus-Haus in the heart of Berlin. We welcomed 27 of the best Phase I applicants from 17 different countries who were invited to spend a whole week in Berlin and also attend the Student Conference on 22-24 February at TU Berlin.

The BMS Days allow the BMS Admissions Committee to interview the applicants in person and also give them a preview of the opportunities offered by the BMS. The applicants got the chance to meet current BMS students and learn about life as a graduate student in Berlin. As usual, the program included an overview of the BMS graduate program and the research opportunities in Berlin, mathematical talks by MATH+ faculty members and Q&A sessions with faculty and students.


The mathematical lectures were given by Maite Wilke Berenguer (HU Berlin), Pavle Blagojevic (FU Berlin), Tobias Breiten (TU Berlin), Angela Ortega (HU Berlin), Martin Skutella (TU Berlin) and Vikram Sunkara (FU Berlin, ZIB) and gave a great impression of the mathematical community in Berlin.

The BMS Days were followed by the BMS Student Conference from 22 to 24 February, organized by the BMS student representatives. They offered invited talks by Claudio Arezzo (U Parma and ICTP) and Günter M. Ziegler (FU Berlin). Furthermore, several BMS students displayed the broad spectrum of Berlin's mathematical landscape by presenting their own research projects and talks on various topics. The highlight, as usual, was the praised “Wine and Cheese Party” at the end of the week.

Everyone enjoyed the well-organized event in the beautiful location opposite the Pergamon museum and the opportunity for a formal and informal get-together.

We hope to see most of our guests again soon when they start their BMS careers in the fall!

After a two-year break, we could finally honor our graduates and recent BMS alumni with a festive Certificate Ceremony in the beautiful Leibniz-Saal of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW). Almost 140 members and guests followed the invitation and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and long overdue get-together.

Get an impression of the vibrant event and watch the "After Movie" of the BMS Certificate Ceremony here or on the MATH+ YouTube channel, where you can find more exciting videos:

The afternoon started with the BMS PhD seminar "What is…? ". PhD student M. Levent Doğan introduced the topic of the following MATH+ Friday colloquium on "P, NP, and Probabilistically Checkable Proofs", held by Irit Dinur of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences (online). The presentations were part of the 2022 nationwide event series "The 7 Greatest Adventures of Mathematics," which describes the seven Millennium Prize problems presented by seven German mathematical research institutions. All recordings of the presentations on "P versus NP" are also available on the MATH+ YouTube channel.

Afterwards, Christof Schütte (MATH+ Chair at that time) welcomed everyone to the Certificate Ceremony and gave a laudation of the MATH+ Dissertation Award winners from 2020 and 2021, a prize first initiated in 2020. The “Klezmeyers” Band provided musical entertainment between the certificate presentations. The evening closed with a lively reception.

The BMS Certificate Ceremony was part of the Celebrating Math! day on 01 July 2022. 
Read more about this day’s events at the Futurium and the BBAW:


On 9-10 February 2023, the Northern German Algebraic Geometry Seminar (NoGAGS) will take place at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The NoGAGS is a regional meeting taking place every year since 2008, involving mainly the algebraic geometry groups in Berlin, Hannover, Leipzig, and Hamburg.

The event is organized by Gavril Farkas, Professor of Algebraic Geometry at HU Berlin, and Bruno Klingler, Einstein Professor at HU Berlin, whose main research interests lie in arithmetic geometry. Both mathematicians have recently been named MATH+ Distinguished Fellows; this award recognizes outstanding contributions to the mathematical sciences and supports the work of world-leading mathematicians in Berlin. Gavril Farkas is also one of the three Chairs of the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS).

During the seminar, two significant prizes will be awarded for the best papers published in the journals "Algebraic Geometry" respectively "Compositio Mathematica" in 2017-2020. Both are prestigious, well-established journals of very high quality. Gavril Farkas, the Managing Editor of "Algebraic Geometry" and Bruno Klingler, the Managing Editor of "Compositio Mathematica", will present the prizes. The Foundation Compositio Mathematica, which publishes both journals, Compositio and Algebraic Geometry, has an outstanding record of supporting open-access journals and finding alternatives to commercial publishers. “It is the purpose of the foundation to publish first-class mathematical research papers.”

Apart from talks from the prize winners, the NoGAGS will feature further lectures from some of the top algebraic geometers in the world, like Claire Voisin (Chair of Algebraic Geometry at the Collège de France, Paris) and Rahul Pandharipande from ETH Zürich, who was an Einstein Visiting Fellow at the BMS from 2015-2019.

Another special talk will be given by Bernd Sturmfels on opportunities for PhD students and young postdocs in algebraic geometry. Sturmfels is the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences Leipzig and was an Einstein Visiting Fellow at the TU Berlin (2015-2020).

The event is open, and everyone is most welcome.

Please visit the event’s website for more information about the Prize Winners, all speakers, and the address: 

On 18 November 2022, the MATH+ community gathered for the MATH+ Day to elect the new Chairs of the Berlin Mathematics Research Center MATH+ and the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS). Both new Chairs will assume their positions for two years.

Michael Hintermüller of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has taken over the role of the MATH+ Chair from Christof Schütte, Freie Universität Berlin, who had held the position since November 2020. Christof Schütte and Martin Skutella, Technische Universität Berlin, will be MATH+ Co-Chairs.

MATH+ Chairs (M. Hintermüller, C. Schütte, M. Skutella)

Holger Reich, Freie Universität Berlin, succeeds Jürg Kramer, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, as Chair of the BMS, the Graduate School of the Cluster of Excellence MATH+. Jürg Kramer had been Chair since November 2020.

BMS Chairs (J. Sullivan, G. Farkas, H. Reich)

The BMS leadership rotates every two years between the three participating universities, FU, HU, and TU Berlin. Gavril Farkas, Humboldt-Universität, and John M. Sullivan, Technische Universität Berlin, will serve as deputy chairs.


The Dies Mathematicus is organized every year by the Institute of Mathematics of Technische Universität Berlin to bid farewell to its graduates and to honor the best among them.

© Institute of Mathematics, TU Berlin

Prior to the ceremony, a presentation competition is held, to which graduates can be nominated by their supervisors as well as set themselves. This competition allows the graduates to present their bachelor, diploma, and master’s theses in a short lecture. A jury awards the prizes in the following three categories: best bachelor’s thesis, best master’s /diploma thesis, and best presentation.

We proudly announce that this year’s first, second, and third place in the category "Best Presentation“ were awarded to three BMS PhD students: Jonas Köppl (1st), Sandro Roch (2nd), and Nina Smeenk (3rd).


News: Institute of Mathematics of TU Berlin (in German only)

We are delighted to announce that BMS Alumnus Sebastian Neumayer received the GIP Dissertation Prize 2022. The GIP (Gesellschaft für Inverse Probleme) awards the best PhD thesis in the field of “Inverse Problems” every two years. Congratulations!

Photos: left - S. Neumayer ©private  |  right - PhD Prize awardee Tram Nguyen, GIP Chair T. Hohage, S. Neumayer ©Eva Hetzel (GIP)

“When I received the email about the prize, I was first surprised but also very proud at the same time. This national prize honors my research at TU Kaiserslautern and TU Berlin. It gives me the feeling of having achieved something significant during my PhD. For the coming years, it’s an affirmation to continue my work and develop new approaches for solving inverse problems”, he said about his award.

Sebastian Neumayer received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Mathematics from TU Kaiserslautern in 2016 and 2018 before transferring to Berlin for his PhD studies. In December 2020, he graduated from TU Berlin summa cum laude with his thesis on “Deformation and Transport of Image Data” and held a postdoc position in the research group “Applied Mathematics” at TU Berlin. In 2021, he started his postdoctoral research in the “Biomedical Imaging Group” at EPFL in Lausanne.

Sebastian Neumayer’s research interests include motion and deformation modeling, variational models and optimal control, optimal transport and Sinkhorn divergences, optimization on manifolds, machine learning, neural networks and normalizing flows, inverse problems in imaging, and convergence analysis of numerical schemes.

Read more (Sebastian Neumayer at EPFL)

We are delighted that the BMS-BGSMath Junior Meetingtook place at the University of Barcelona this year from 05 to 07 September after it had been postponed due to the ongoing Corona pandemic. Around 80 participants attended this year’s meeting in Spain. Prof. John M. Sullivan of TU Berlin represented the BMS as one of its Deputy Chairs. The Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) and the Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath) alternatively organize regular meetings as both schools share their ambitions to conduct excellent doctoral and postdoctoral training programs. They cooperate in developing initiatives to promote the mobility of and exchange between students and faculty members through events like the Junior Meeting, joint Summer Schools, mutual visits by advanced students and postdocs of each institution, and other scientific activities. The Junior Meeting also aims to intensify current collaborations and create new links between the two schools. The scientific sessions were focused on different areas of Mathematics, trying to cover a wide range of topics and be of interest to all the participants. No previous background in a specific area was required to attend and understand the talks.


  Photo: © John Maar (BMS)                                              Photo: © BGSMath


Following the usual rotating principle, the next BMS-BGSMath Junior Meeting will be held in Berlin in 2023.

BMS PhD student Sofía Garzón Mora described her impressions of the meeting:

“During the past 5-7th of September, the BMS-BGSMath Junior Meeting took place at the historical building of the University of Barcelona. Almost 50 participants from Berlin attended this short yet very fruitful workshop, where the Barcelona organizers and participants joyfully welcomed us. The schedule was packed with plenary talks by invited senior speakers and junior researcher talks, distributed in parallel sessions by content throughout the day. This diversity in mathematical subjects was the perfect opportunity to attract those in the audience with an affinity towards some topics and invite more in-depth discussions and questions. The coffee and lunch breaks were an important addition to the program, where we enjoyed local delicacies while continuing to get to know our colleagues. Last but not least, the evening allowed us to delight ourselves with Mediterranean food during the Conference Dinner and go for a relaxing swimming session at the Barceloneta beach, where we enjoyed the last days of summer under the scorching Spanish sun.

Adios Barcelona, we already look forward to participating in the next junior meeting.”