New honorary doctors in science and technology


Three new honorary doctors have been named by the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University: mathematician Yakov Eliashberg, biologist Jane Reece and physicist John M. Wills.

The Russian–American mathematician Yakov Eliashberg, born 1946, is Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University and one of the leading mathematicians of our time. His research deals with symplectic geometry and has led to important breakthroughs. He has advanced this field as well as contact geometry, a twin theory of symplectic geometry. Both of these are closely connected to the developments of modern physics such as string theory. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded Eliashberg the 2016 Crafoord Prize in mathematics. Professor Eliashberg’s body of work is of great importance to many Uppsala researchers in mathematics and physics, who have established personal contact with him.

Dr Jane B. Reece, born 1944, has researched bacteriology and genetics at several American higher education institutions. She has also been central to the development of one of the world’s most successful textbooks for university level biology, “Biology”, which was first published in 1987 and is regularly published in new editions with supplemental digital learning aids. The textbook, now named “Campbell Biology”, after the author who first started writing the book, Neil A. Campbell, is constantly being developed and has for many years been important to students starting their biology studies at the faculty. Dr Reece continually discusses with other researchers in order to update the textbook, and has together with her co-authors visited biologists at Uppsala University to discuss pedagogics and current research.

Dr John M. Wills, born 1949, is based at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, where he combines materials theory with modelling and simulation to, among other things, predict crystal structures and other properties of materials. His research has repeatedly been awarded prizes, for example the Awards of Excellence by the US Department of Energy in 2006 and 2012. John Wills was an early developer of a high-precision electronic structure method, which over the years has been used by some 20 of the faculty’s doctoral students in their theses. He has educated all of these students in the use of the method, and the last 25 years have seen many co-authored studies and exchanges between John Wills’ research group and researchers at the Faculty of Science and Technology. This cooperation has resulted in some 250 publications, many of which have been published in Nature, Science and The Physical Review Letters. John Wills has through committment and cooperation in an outstanding way contributed to the Faculty of Science and Technology’s research in physics and bordering fields.