Vietnamese Mathematician Recieves Dénes König Prize

Vietnamese mathematician Huy Pham, a Visiting Clay Scholar and Stanford Science Fellow, together with his colleague Jinyoung Park, a former Szëgo Assistant Professor, have been awarded the Dénes König Prize for 2024 for their joint paper, "A proof of the Kahn–Kalai conjecture".
May 09, 2024 | 10:41

Dr. Huy Pham was born in 1996. He earned his doctorate in mathematics from Stanford University (US) in 2023. During his high school years at the High School for the Gifted (National University of Ho Chi Minh City), Huy was the only student in the southern provinces to be the gold medalist at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) for two years in a row (2013 and 2014).

Vietnamese Mathematician Recieves Dénes König Prize
Huy studied and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Statistics at Stanford University; Master of Advanced Studies in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

Huy was awarded the Clay Research Fellowship in 2023. He became the second Vietnamese math talent to be awarded a research fellowship at the Clay Mathematics Institute in the U.S. after Professor Ngo Bao Chau (2004 Fellowship). In addition to mathematics, Tuan Huy is known as a comprehensive and multi-talented person who also studied for 6 years at the Ho Chi Minh City Conservatory of Music, majoring in Piano.

Vietnamese Mathematician Recieves Dénes König Prize
Mathematician Huy Pham lectures a class at Stanford University on April 22, 2024. Screenshot from Institute for Advanced Study's YouTube Channel

The Kahn–Kalai conjecture, also known as the expectation threshold conjecture, is a conjecture in the field of graph theory and statistical mechanics, proposed by mathematicians Jeff Kahn and Gil Kalai in 2006. It involves determining the exact point (e.g. temperature, pressure, probability, etc.) at which a “phase transition” occurs in many different systems. This conjecture is widely studied in statistical mechanics and graph theory.

The Kahn-Kalai conjecture is a powerful proof technique that [will] lead to new things,” in the words of mathematician Noga Alon (Princeton University).

"A proof of the Kahn–Kalai conjecture" by Huy Pham and Jinyoung Park is no more than 6 pages long, to the surprise of many people. According to the Institute of Advanced Study, co-author of "the Kahn–Kalai conjecture" - Gil Kalai - is amazed by the brief yet substantial paper.

"Park, with Pham, surprised everyone, finding a direct simple argument (which settles another conjecture of French Mathematician Michel Pierre Talagrand), solving one of the major puzzles in the field," said Kalai.

The Dénes König Award is named after a Hungarian-Jewish mathematician, famous for publishing the first textbook on graph theory. Since 2008, the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics awards the Dénes König Prize every two years to early career individuals who have made outstanding research contributions to the field of discrete mathematics.
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