FACES OF MATHEMATICS

Gero Friesecke

Professor Gero Friesecke

University of Warwick

Gero Friesecke works in applied analysis, on problems motivated by quantum mechanics and materials science, bringing rigorous techniques of mathematical analysis to bear on them. His interests range from classical problems on the stability of molecules to modern developments in quasicrystal structure in alloys.

"I hate doing long calculations, so I spend a lot of time thinking how to avoid long calculations, and whether there is a nice, elegant, short, qualitative argument that will tell me roughly what the answer will be. Then often at the end of the day, the argument you get is really quite natural and it couldn't have come out any other way. Then you feel, because you have some geometric physical intuition, that these all conspire to produce some picture in your mind that is just verified by the formal, rigorous argument.

"It would take a lot of the fun away if I were forced to do long calculations all the time, without being able to think about what's really going on, what's behind it. To conceptualise: that's the fun part, really. It is not running out of ink, or whatever.

"You see some phenomena in physics and you try to find a mathematical language to capture and describe them, or to extract the right features. Quantum mechanics is an interesting case because the governing equations of the particles are known, but it is pretty hard to extract the information."

Return to Faces of Mathematics homepage. Return to Gero Friesecke's photograph.