The Rodney Baxter Prize in Mathematical Physics

The Rodney Baxter Prize in Mathematical Physics, currently valued at $5,000 AUD, is awarded once every three years at the ANZAMP Annual Meeting.  It recognises an outstanding and internationally significant contribution to Mathematical Physics that was primarily carried out in Australia or New Zealand.  The Fellowship is funded by a gift from Emeritus Professor Rodney Baxter to the Australian Mathematical Society.  The rules governing this prize, along with the precise eligibility criteria, are detailed on the AustMS webpage.

Rodney Baxter’s work has deeply influenced both mathematics and physics.  His groundbreaking contributions to the study of exactly solved models in statistical mechanics have inspired profound developments in areas ranging from pure mathematics to theoretical physics.  Rodney is particularly famous for his remarkable exact solution of the 8-vertex model, a crucial part of which was the discovery of what is now known as the Yang–Baxter equation.

The Yang–Baxter equation, also known as the master key to integrability, played a key role in the development of quantum groups by Drinfeld and Jimbo, and continues to have far reaching implications in many-body physics.  It plays, for example, a fundamental role in the AdS/CFT correspondence of gauge/string theory.  Insights gained from the solution of the 8-vertex and related models helped to shape the modern theory of phase transitions and critical phenomena, as well as the intimate relation with conformal field theory.  Among other areas of mathematics, Rodney’s work has inspired developments in representation theory and knot theory.  The term “Baxterisation” was coined by Vaughan Jones as the procedure for constructing solutions of the Yang–Baxter equation from algebraic representations.

Rodney Baxter’s list of major awards is extensive, including the 1980 Boltzmann Medal, the 1987 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics, the 2006 Lars Onsager Prize, a 2013 Royal Medal and the 2021 Henri Poincaré Prize.

Past winners of the Rodney Baxter Prize in Mathematical Physics are listed below, along with a citation describing the prizewinning work.

Year Winner Institution Citation
2023 TBA TBA citation