May 23, 2016

Award Winners Honored at Annual Ceremony

Colin Klaus (left) and Corey Jones

Four students and one postdoc were honored for outstanding achievements at the Department of Mathematics recent annual award ceremony.

The 2016 B.F. Bryant Prize for Excellence in Teaching was shared by graduate students Corey Jones and Colin Klaus. In announcing the award, Associate Director of Graduate Studies Doug Hardin cited the outstanding ratings both of them had received on student evaluations.

Jones received his Ph.D. in May 2016. He has accepted a postdoctoral position at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.

Klaus is expected to receive his Ph.D. in May 2017. He will spend next year finalizing two research projects with his advisor Emmanuele DiBenedetto.

Corey Jones was also the recipient of the Bjarni Jónsson Prize for Research. Jones’ research interests are in quantum symmetries, including tensor categories, subfactors, planar algebras, quantum groups, and operator algebras.

Jones is the sole author of a paper that has been accepted for publication in the International Journal of Mathematics and co-author (with S. K. Ghosh of the India Statistical Institute) of a paper that has been accepted by the Journal of Functional Analysis. Jones has also given talks at several conferences.

His advisor, Vaughan Jones, describes Jones as a remarkable student who rapidly mastered suggested areas of research. “All I had to do was hint at a topic,” said Jones, “and within a few days, Corey would have read up on the subject, done a multitude of calculations, and have a ton of theories and a definite opinion on where it was all leading.”

The Richard J. Larsen Award for Achievement in Undergraduate Mathematics was awarded jointly to Tennessee (“Tucker”) Joyce and Timothy (“TJ”) Warner.

Director of Undergraduate Studies John Rafter described Tucker as “a developed mathematician when he arrived at Vanderbilt as a freshman.“ He took only graduate math courses at Vanderbilt and excelled in all of them. He is the first freshman to take the department’s graduate topology class.

(Left to right) Richard Larsen, Marcelo Disconzi, Tucker Joyce, and John Rafter


Tucker graduated with honors and will pursue a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

According to Rafter, the other winner of the Larsen Award, TJ Warner, participated in the department’s activities “as a student, researcher, grader, and president of the Math Club.” He took a wide variety of courses, including the full-year graduate topology and algebra courses, and he did research with Professor Mike Mihalik on asymptotic group theory. TJ plans to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics.

The winner of the 2016 Samir Aldroubi and Amira Azhari Prize for Excellence in Postdoctoral Research is Arnaud Brothier, who completed a three-year postdoctoral appointment this year.

While at Vanderbilt, Brothier published five papers and produced two preprints. His work appeared in prestigious journals, including the Journal of Functional Analysis and the Journal of Noncommutative Geometry. He also gave more than 15 talks at conferences and seminars all over the world.

Arnaud Brothier (left) and Akram Aldroubi


Arnaud’s research interests encompass subfactors, planar algebras, tensor categories, deformation/rigidity theory, free probability, ergodic theory, and geometric group theory. His latest work is focused around approximation properties of infinite depth planar algebras and realizing these as planar algebras arising from hyperfinite subfactors.

Professor and Department Chair Dietmar Bisch, Brothier’s postdoctoral mentor, said, “Arnaud’s work as a postdoc at Vanderbilt has been very impressive. His results are an important contribution to the study of subfactors, an exciting area of operator algebras with many open questions and unexpected connections to mathematical physics.”

The Department of Mathematics is proud to honor these accomplished award winners.