In their rich, diverse and international mathematical environments, the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) and the Barcelona Graduate School of Mathematics (BGSMath) share the common goal of striving for excellence in their doctoral and postdoctoral training programs. To kick off the new collaboration between these two graduate schools, the first BMS - BGSMath Junior Meeting was held in Barcelona on 9 and 10 October 2017.

The aim of this meeting was to bring together young researchers from the two cities, and the organizing committee was made up of PhD students and postdocs from both the BMS and BGSMath. In total there were 71 registered participants, 20 of whom were affiliated with Berlin universities and included 16 members of the BMS student body and postdoctoral faculty. The meeting was opened by the BMS Deputy Chair Prof. John M. Sullivan and the BGSMath Director Prof. Marc Noy, and was divided into three sections: Algebra & Geometry; Discrete Mathematics & Computer Science; and Probability, Statistics & PDEs. Each section consisted of one keynote address by a senior researcher and eight short talks by PhD students and postdocs from both the Berlin and the Barcelona side.

The BMS and BGSMath have declared their intention to cooperate together in initiatives aimed at promoting the mobility of and exchange between students and faculty members by way of events such as the Junior Meeting; joint summer schools; mutual visits by advanced students and postdocs of each institution; and other scientific activities. The ultimate goal is to create strong scientific exchange, strengthen research collaboration between the respective math communities, and enhance the multicultural environment of both graduate schools.

The BMS would like to thank Bahareh Banyassady, Katharina Klost, Jean-Philippe Labbé and Martin Wahl for their hard work and commitment in getting the first BMS joint event with BGSMath off the ground!

© BGSMath Communication

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini


According to the "Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings", the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU) belong to the top seven universities in Germany. Ranked 4th, 5th and 7th, respectively, they each claim higher positions in comparison with the results of previous years.

A total of 41 universities in Germany are listed among the very best in the world, and the three Berlin universities appear among the top 85 with the HU achieving 57th place, the FU 75th place and the TU 82nd place. In addition, the HU and the FU have been ranked among the 70 most prestigious universities in the world. As announced in the “THE World Reputation Rankings”, the HU and FU have been placed in groups 51 - 60 and 61 - 70, respectively.

The “THE World Reputation Rankings” is a branch of the annually published THE World University Rankings which is based on the world's largest survey of selected academics. Each institution is measured based on five categories: teaching, research, citations, international diversity and industry income.

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini


Martin Skrodzki © Tsutomu ArakiMartin Skrodzki, BMS Phase II student and member of the FU Berlin’s Mathematical Geometry Processing group, was part of the winning team in the FU Berlin’s "Research to Market Challenge 2017". His team, Double Cover, was awarded first prize in the category “Cultural & Social” for its business model to make artistic and aesthetic geometric models available for education.

Created using sturdy, metallic-looking paper, the cut-outs for the models can be produced in large numbers using a laser cutting technique. The models are then put together by the users themselves and depict mathematical geometries with so-called multiple coverings. These are geometric analogies to the weaving process used in the production of cloth. By introducing multi-coverings, the models become both more stable and mathematically interesting. The models presented depict platonic solids, double covered, but the method can be applied to any geometrical model. Potential customers for Double Cover’s winning idea include teachers, science workshop organizers and private individuals. The other team members are the former BMS vice chair and head of the Mathematical Geometry Processing group Prof. Dr. Konrad Polthier, technical staff member Ulrich Reitebuch and student assistant Kevin Guo.

The “Research to Market Challenge” is a competition for research-based product and business ideas and is open to members or alumni of the FU Berlin, among others. As well as prize money in the sum of 1500 euros, the team has been offered the chance to take part in a one-day workshop on business model development, coaching on how to successfully present their idea, and personal feedback by experts.

No sooner had Martin accepted this prize with his team on 18 July 2017, than he and some members of his research group were awarded with another prize! On 10 August 2017 in Tokyo, Japan, the winners of this year’s Asian Digital Modeling Contest (ADMC) were announced: Martin, Konrad, and Ulrich were jointly awarded one of the two ADMC2017 Awards for Excellence for their model “Chladni Towers”.

Martin Skrodzki about Chladni Towers © Tsutomu ArakiThe aim of the ADMC is to encourage the creation of three-dimensional mechanisms and objects in innovative environments via 3D printing technology. The competitors were asked to submit an original design that could be created using a 3D printer. Out of 27 competitors, eleven finalists were invited to present their designs at the 2017 Asian Forum on Graphic Science in Tokyo. Upon announcing “Chladni Towers” as one of the winning designs, the jury explained its choice: "The form is constructed from a layered Chladni figure, which is derived from physical phenomena. Visualization of sound is often performed by two-dimensional figures, but by using a layered structure, additional dimension is expressed in the height direction and the vibration of sound is expressed in a 3D space. The idea is novel and the realized form is elegant. This is a splendid work that visualizes invisible physical phenomena.”

As a member of the Mathematical Geometry Processing group at the FU Berlin, Martin is currently working on his PhD under the supervision of the former BMS vice chair Prof. Dr. Konrad Polthier. Martin's research interests include the acquisition of point sets via 3D-scanning as well as their processing. With regards to efficiency, he is interested in nearest-neighbor algorithms and corresponding data structures.

Many congratulations to Martin and the other members of his team for their success!

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini

Sources: Profund, ADMC

On Tuesday 23 May 2017, the BMS welcomed a delegation of 20 undergraduate students and three faculty members from Morehouse College and Spelman College, two American universities situated in Atlanta, Georgia. This event aimed to give the visiting students and faculty a chance to connect with their counterparts in Germany, and gain first-hand exposure to prospective careers and research opportunities in the field of mathematics.

BMS Deputy Chair, Prof. Dr. John Sullivan, began by giving a presentation about the BMS, its PhD Program, and about the mathematics landscape in Berlin in general. This was followed by talks from three BMS Phase II students, who each presented their own research projects. Patrick Gelß, based at the FU, gave a talk on “The tensor-train format and its applications - Modeling and analysis of chemical reaction networks, catalytic processes, fluid flows, and Brownian dynamics”. Ana Djurdjevac, also based at the FU, presented her research on “Random PDEs on evolving hypersurfaces”. Finally, using material from his PhD project, Carlos Echeverría Serur, based at the TU, gave a talk entitled “On the solution of linear systems arising from Shishkin mesh discretizations”. Carlos said he hopes that all the talks will encourage some of the American students to come to Berlin for their graduate studies.

Following the BMS presentations, the delegation then visited the TU Berlin's 3D LAB. Afterwards, the American students and faculty were given the chance to interact informally with BMS students, faculty and staff over lunch in the BMS Lounge.

This event was part of the STEM LAUNCH Study Tour of Germany organized by Cultural Vistas, a non-profit organization that facilitates connections between American and international students, academics and professionals. Through a two-week professional and cultural tour of Berlin and Munich, this study tour aims to encourage students from Georgia-based historically black colleges & universities to consider adding an international context to their educational and career paths.


Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini


Each semester, the BMS designates one of the BMS Friday Colloquia as the Sonia Kovalevskaya Colloquium. This lecture, named after the pioneering Russian mathematician, features female mathematicians, both senior and junior, who are regarded as successful role models. The BMS Kovalevskaya Lunch takes place prior to the main lecture and is an event held exclusively for women at the BMS.

On 2 June 2017, the 20th BMS Kovalevskaya Lunch took place with Prof. Sujatha Ramdorai as the twentieth special guest invited to share her experience as a woman mathematician with twenty participants from the BMS. In celebration of this milestone, everyone in attendance was given a small gift from the BMS in the form of a USB stick. 

Sujatha Ramdorai is an algebraic number theorist and, over lunch at the Urania Berlin, she shared the story of her desire to study mathematics and outlined her career success to date, which includes being a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India for a period of five years. Sujatha is currently a professor of mathematics at the University of British Columbia in Canada. 

The BMS Kovalevskaya Lunch, held once a semester since 2007, aims to give female students the opportunity to talk to an outstanding female mathematician and to exchange experiences as women in the field of mathematics. At this informal event, students have the chance to discuss the issues that directly impact female mathematicians and their careers, such as job opportunities, parenthood and work-life balance. Phase I student Yingying, who took part in the Kovalevskaya Lunch for the first time, said that the meeting with Sujatha gave her more motivation to continue doing mathematics and to contribute to the support of women in this field. She added that she was grateful to have been given the chance to meet Sujatha in person. 

Previous Sonia Kovalevskaya Colloquium guest speakers can be found on this page of our website.

The BMS is committed to providing an outstanding environment where women are able to thrive in mathematics. In 2016, the BMS student body was over 30% female, but the goal of the BMS is to achieve a 50% representation of women among its students. As well as the Kovalevskaya Lunch event, the BMS strives to provide positive role models for women via the BMS faculty and postdoc faculty members, BMS mentors, board members, guest speakers and visitors too. In addition, the BMS awards the Hilda Geiringer Scholarship to outstanding female PhD students in recognition of their achievements to date and to support their future mathematical research endeavours. Hilda Geiringer’s daughter, Magda Tisza, validated the efforts of the BMS in fostering women mathematicians with her comment: "The stellar record of some of your scholarship selections is impressive."

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini

The BMS would like to congratulate Jürg Kramer on his appointment as the European Mathematical Society's Committee Chair of Education. Kramer, who is the vice chair of the BMS and professor for mathematics at the HU Berlin, took over as chair from Günter Törner (U Duisburg-Essen) whose term of office ran from 2010 to 2016.

The European Mathematical Society (EMS) was founded in 1990 in Madralin, Poland. Its purpose is to further the development of all aspects of mathematics in Europe, in particular to promote research in mathematics and its applications. The goal of the EMS Committee for Education is to report and act on educational issues that are of concern to EMS members without infringing on the responsibilities of the national mathematics societies.

Jürg Kramer completed his PhD in Basel and habilitation at the ETH Zürich. He has held a professorship of mathematics at the HU Berlin since 1994, and has been a member of the BMS Board since 2006, acting twice as the BMS chair. His research interests lie in arithmetic geometry and the theory of automorphic forms, and he is particularly active in the professional education and training of mathematics teachers. His tenure as EMS Committee Chair of Education runs for four years from 01.01.2017 to 31.12.2020.

Congratulations Jürg on your new appointment!

BMS Phase II students Martin Genzel and Benjamin Unger were appointed GAMM Juniors by the Gesellschaft für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik (International Association of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics) in December 2016.

GAMM was founded in 1922 by Ludwig Prandtl and Richard von Mises to promote scientific development in all areas of applied mathematics and mechanics. The association fosters international cooperation and currently comprises over 2000 members.

Each year, ten new GAMM Juniors are selected in recognition of their outstanding achievements in their graduate and/or doctoral theses in the field of applied mathematics or mechanics. To be eligible, these young scientists must be under the age of 32 at the time of application and have a final thesis not older than two years. The successful candidates are invited to become active in GAMM for three years as ambassadors of young scientists in the fields of applied mathematics and mechanics, representing these disciplines within the scientific community and society. During this time, they are exempt from GAMM membership fees and are offered additional financial and moral support in their scientific endeavors. With an overlap in the term of office of the thirty members, their technical and organizational knowledge can be passed on to succeeding generations of GAMM Juniors. 

Current GAMM Juniors include BMS Phase II students Sandra Keiper and Philipp Petersen. BMS alumni Agnieszka Miedlar and Robert Altmann were GAMM Juniors until 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Martin Genzel © privat Martin Genzel was selected in recognition of his master's thesis entitled "Sparse Proteomics Analysis" and will be active as a GAMM Junior for three years from 2017 until the end of 2019. He is a member of the Applied Functional Analysis research group at the TU Berlin and is currently working on the project “Sparse Compressed Sensing based Classifiers for -omics mass-data” under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Gitta Kutyniok. In his research, Martin particularly focuses on high-dimensional data analysis and compressed sensing, as well as several topics from machine learning.

Benjamin Unger © privat Benjamin Unger was selected in recognition of his master's thesis entitled "Impact of Discretization Techniques on Nonlinear Model Reduction and Analysis of the Structure of the POD Basis" and will also be a GAMM Junior for three years until the end of 2019. He is a member of the Numerical Mathematics research group at the TU Berlin and is working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Volker Mehrmann. The research project that Benjamin is involved in is "SFB 910, Control of self-organizing nonlinear systems: Theoretical methods and concepts of application". Within this project, he is working on the stability of delay differential-algebraic equations. Closely connected is model order reduction of transport-dominated phenomena.

Congratulations to both Martin und Benjamin!

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini

Source: GAMM

Henry Cohn reports about the spectacular work of the BMS Dirichlet Postdoc Maryna Viazovska in Notices of the AMS:

 Henry Cohn and Maryna Viazovska ©Kay Herschelmann/BMS

Click here to read our full article: BMS Dirichlet Postdoc solves sphere packing in higher dimensions

BMS alumni Robert Altmann and Atul Shekhar were recognized for their scientific achievements at the 2016 State Conference of Rectors and Presidents of Berlin Universities (Landeskonferenz der Rektoren und Präsidenten der Berliner Hochschulen).

Robert Altmann © privateRobert was awarded the second Tiburtius Prize in the dissertation category for his outstanding PhD thesis entitled “Regularization and Simulation of Constrained Partial Differential Equations”. His thesis deals with the regularization of differential-algebraic equations and the resulting positive impact on the corresponding semi-discrete systems. Robert did his PhD at the TU Berlin under the supervision of BMS faculty member Prof. Dr. Volker Mehrmann and graduated with summa cum laude in 2015. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher in the Numerical Mathematics research group at the TU Berlin. His award came with prize money in the sum of 2500 euros.


Atul Shekhar © privateAtul was honoured with a Tiburtius recognition award for his doctoral dissertation entitled "Rough paths, probability and related topics". The theory of rough paths emerges from numerical methods for differential equations and builds a bridge between analysis and stochastics. Atul completed his PhD under the supervision of BMS faculty member Prof. Dr. Peter K. Friz and graduated from the TU Berlin in 2015 with summa cum laude. Atul is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Indian Statistical Institute in Bangalore. His award came with prize money in the sum of 500 euros.

The State Conference of Rectors and Presidents of Berlin Universities (LKRP) annually awards three Tiburtius Prizes and three awards of recognition to recent PhD graduates from Berlin's universities for their outstanding doctoral theses. The prize-giving ceremony was held at the FU Berlin on 22 November 2016.

Many congratulations to Robert and Atul!


German-language source:

The Berlin Mathematical School is ten years old! Established in 2006, the BMS has flourished into a highly successful graduate school currently consisting of more than 200 students and boasting a PhD alumni community of over 210 academics and professionals. In ten short years, the BMS has welcomed aspiring young mathematicians from over 50 countries, reached its goal of 50% international students, and achieved a ratio of 31% female students.

From 17 to 18 November 2016, the BMS held a colorful program of events in celebration of its tenth birthday. The festivities began in advance at the TU Berlin Mathematics Library on the evening of 16 November with a BMS Welcome Reception combined with the opening of "Art on Board: the Beauty of Math". This art exhibition showcases early mathematical prints by Bernar Venet and aquatints from the "Concinnitas Portfolio" and will run until 28 February 2017.

Laure Saint-Raymond, © Kay Herschelmann     Martin Hairer, © Kay Herschelmann  

On the morning of 17 November, the main event took off in the Audimax at TU Berlin. Seven talks were given by distinguished speakers active in different BMS research areas. Each plenary speaker was introduced by two BMS students from the same area of research. Prior to each talk, several BMS students and one of the guest speakers gave very enjoyable and moving vocal and instrumental musical performances.

BMS Phase II student Georg and Laure Saint-Raymond, © Kay Herschelmann     moderating BMS Phase II students Efstathia and Yannik, © Kay Herschelmann

Over half of the BMS student body attended the main event to take advantage of the opportunity to learn from outstanding mathematicians from all around the world. In between the scheduled talks, there was time to socialize with the seven guest speakers, around forty external guests, and over sixty BMS faculty, staff and alumni. At the end of the first day, the BMS student representatives held an (unexpectedly) fun "Math Quiz", which was followed by a buffet reception in the early evening.

 Math Quiz, © Charles Yunck    Audience, © Charles Yunck

The chance to network prior to the main event was not lost as BMS students were invited to take part in a World Café. This event was designed to offer current students the opportunity to meet and chat to BMS alumni and postdocs about various topics such as PhD research, applying for postdoc positions and job availability in the private sector.

BMS Postdoc and BMS Alumni World Café, © Kay Herschelmann     f.l.t.r. Irena, Cesar, Adrián, Alexandre, Claudia, Jana, Tania, © Kay Herschelmann

In recognition of ten years of the BMS, some of the opening speeches were made up of just ten sentences. The BMS Chair, Günter M. Ziegler, presented ten sentences composed by a BMS alumna in which she emphasized the more profound values of a university education. Opening speeches were also given by Christian Thomsen (President, TU Berlin), Peter A. Frensch (Vice President for Research, HU Berlin), Peter-André Alt (President, FU Berlin) and Steffen Krach (Berlin's State Secretary for Science).

Christian Thomsen, President TU Berlin, © Charles Yunck Peter A. Frensch, Vice President for Research, HU Berlin, © Charles Yunck Peter-André Alt, President FU Berlin, © Charles Yunck Steffen Krach, Berlin's State Secretary for Science, © Charles Yunck Günter M. Ziegler, BMS Chair, © Kay Herschelmann BMS Chairs and BMS One-Stop Office Team, © Kay Herschelmann

In his closing speech at the end of the two-day celebration, Professor Ziegler held fast to his newly invented tradition and gave ten sentences of thanks to everyone involved in organizing, presenting, participating, supporting and attending the BMS 10th Anniversary events. In a recent interview, he said "The BMS has achieved so much in ten years: it has changed the mathematical landscape in Berlin, brought international students from the world over to this city, and has created a concept and given a face to studying mathematics in Berlin."

The Berlin Mathematical School would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped to make the past ten years so successful. We are very excited about the next ten years, so watch this space!

Written by S. E. Sutherland-Figini