Hitchin in 2016
|Born||2 August 1946|
Holbrook, Derbyshire, England
|Alma mater||Jesus College and Wolfson College, Oxford|
|Known for||Higgs bundle|
Nahm–Hitchin description of monopoles
Generalized complex structure
|Awards||Whitehead Prize (1981)|
Senior Berwick Prize (1990)
Sylvester Medal (2000)
Pólya Prize (2002)
Shaw Prize (2016)
|Institutions||University of Oxford|
University of Warwick
University of Cambridge
|Doctoral advisor||Brian Steer|
|Doctoral students||Simon Donaldson|
Nigel James Hitchin FRS (born 2 August 1946) is a British mathematician working in the fields of differential geometry, algebraic geometry, and mathematical physics. He is a professor emeritus of mathematics at Oxford University.
Hitchin attended Ecclesbourne School, Duffield, and earned his BA in mathematics from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1968. After moving to Wolfson College, he received his D.Phil. in 1972. From 1971 to 1973 he visited the Institute for Advanced Study and 1973/74 the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. He then was a research fellow in Oxford and starting in 1979 tutor, lecturer and fellow of St Catherine's College. In 1990 he became a professor at the University of Warwick and in 1994 the Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. In 1997 he was appointed to the Savilian Chair of Geometry at the University of Oxford, a position he held until his retirement in 2016.
Amongst his notable discoveries are the Hitchin integrable system, the Hitchin–Thorpe inequality, Hitchin's projectively flat connection over Teichmüller space, Hitchin's self-duality equations, the Atiyah–Hitchin monopole metric, the Atiyah–Hitchin–Singer theorem, the ADHM construction of instantons (of Atiyah, Vladimir Drinfeld, Hitchin, and Yuri Manin), and the Hyperkähler quotient (of Hitchin, Anders Karlhede, Ulf Lindström and Martin Rocek).
In his article on generalized Calabi–Yau manifolds, he introduced the notion of generalized complex manifolds, providing a single structure that incorporates, as examples, Poisson manifolds, symplectic manifolds and complex manifolds. These have found wide applications as the geometries of flux compactifications in string theory and also in topological string theory.
He conjectured the Kobayashi–Hitchin correspondence.
In the span of his career, Hitchin has supervised 37 research students, including Simon Donaldson (part-supervised with Atiyah).
Until 2013 Nigel Hitchin served as the managing editor of the journal Mathematische Annalen.
Honours and awards
In 2003 he was awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Bath.
Hitchin was elected as an Honorary Fellow of Jesus College in 1998, and the Senior Berwick Prize (1990), the Sylvester Medal (2000) and the Pólya Prize (2002) have been awarded to him in honour of his far-reaching work. A conference was held in honour of his 60th birthday, in conjunction with the 2006 International Congress of Mathematicians in Spain.
In 2014 he was awarded another Honorary Degree (Doctor of Science) from the University of Warwick.
- Nigel James Hitchin at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- Fellows' News, Jesus College Record (1998/9) (p.12)
- Hitchin, Nigel (2003), "Generalized Calabi–Yau manifolds", Quarterly Journal of Mathematics, 54 (3): 281–308, arXiv:math/0209099v1, doi:10.1093/qmath/hag025
- "fellows". Royal Society. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
- List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- Shaw Prize 2016