University of Utah
Christopher Hacon

SALT LAKE CITY — Christopher Hacon, University of Utah distinguished professor of mathematics, has been elected to the Royal Society of London.

Born in London, Hacon is one of 50 eminent scientists elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, along with 10 foreign members, in 2019.

The Royal Society, founded in 1660, is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society has named around 1,600 fellows and international members, including some 80 Nobel laureates.

“Of course it is a great honor to be elected to the Royal Society and I am very happy and excited for the positive light it sheds on my research and my department,” Hacon said in a statement.

Hacon holds the U.'s McMinn Presidential Endowed Chair.

According to the Royal Society's biography page, “Christopher Hacon is a mathematician who specializes in the field of algebraic geometry which, loosely speaking, is a branch of mathematics that studies the geometric properties of sets defined by polynomial equations. Together with his co-authors, Hacon has proved many foundational results on the geometry of higher dimensional algebraic varieties including the celebrated result on the finite generation of canonical rings.”

Royal Society president Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, in a press release, said "Over the course of the Royal Society’s vast history, it is our fellowship that has remained a constant thread and the substance from which our purpose has been realized: to use science for the benefit of humanity.”

Ramakrishnan added, “It is with great honor that I welcome them as Fellows of the Royal Society.”

Most recently, Hacon was awarded the 2018 Breakthrough Prize, an award created in 2012 by the founders of Google, Facebook and the personal genomics company 23andMe.

The award also recognized Hacon's work in algebraic geometry. The award, shared with James McKernan of the University of California, San Diego, included a $3 million prize.

Hacon has also been honored with the 2016 EH Moore Research Article Prize; the 2015 Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award from U.; the 2011 Antonio Feltrinelli Prize in Mathematics Mechanics and Applications and the 2009 Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Algebra and the 2007 Clay Research Award.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Mathematical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Hacon and other newly elected fellows will be formally admitted to the society in July, when they will sign the Charter Book and the Obligation of the Fellows of the Royal Society.

The University of Utah has other connections to the Royal Society of London.

Ramakrishnan, its current president, is a 2009 Nobel laureate and taught at the U. from 1995 to 1999. He was elected a Royal Society fellow in 2003.

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Simon Tavaré, who taught at the U. from 1978 to 1981 and again from 1984 to 1989, is director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.

Philip Maini, director of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Oxford, taught at the U. from 1988 to 1990. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015.

John Knox was a leader in the field of gas chromatography and began working with liquid chromatography after a sabbatical fellowship at the U. in 1964. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1984. He died in 2018.