Science and Technology

Research group with a link to Técnico wins a Synergy Grant

Ricardo Schiappa, professor at the Department of Mathematics - Técnico, is member of the research group that won a €10 million ERC grant.

Quantum theory emerged — partly in heated clashes between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr- 90 years ago and it is considered one of the pillars of modern science. A multidisciplinary team of researchers have been trying to deepen this theory in recent years through project “Recursive and Exact New Quantum Theory” (ReNewQuantum), which won a € 10 million ERC Synergy Grant.

According to professor Ricardo Schiappa, from the Department of Mathematics (DM) at Instituto Superior Técnico “the project ReNewQuantum aims to develop a (new) Mathematical Theory of Quantization that extends to all quantum systems, including explicit (and recursive) constructions”.

The team is composed of 4 principal investigators (PIs): professors Anderson, Kontsevich, Eynard and Mariño; each PI has a small team composed of 2 or 3 researchers. Professor Ricardo Schiappa is part of the team led by professor Marcos Mariño, who has hold a faculty position at Técnico and he is currently at the University of Geneva, in Switzerland. The work developed by the team led by professor Marcos Mariño has been very important, namely in what concerns resurgence theory, string theory and mathematical-physics.

According to professor Ricardo Schiappa, one of the main reasons for winning this grant was “the team members”: Professor Maxim Kontsevich, won the 1998 Fields Medal, and the other PIs have developed outstanding work. “I think that the synergy between pure mathematics and theoretical physics created in this project was key to win this grant. I think that this synergy should play an increasing role in modern science,” says the researcher. “This prestigious funding will also be of great benefit to my PhD students and my Postdoctoral researchers at Técnico”, says the Técnico professor.

ReNewQuantum was one of the 27 projects awarded with these grants. A total of €250 million were awarded under this initiative. According to professor Ricardo Schiappa “these highly competitive ERC grants are awarded to projects of scientific excellence”. This is the first time that a ERC Synergy Grant is given to a pure mathematics/theoretical physics project. “This project doesn’t require experimental or computational resources. The €10 million ERC grant will allow to focus much of the investment in human resources and “grey matter”.

” We hope that the next 6 years will bring us a lot of success, namely in what concerns scientific results,” says the Técnico professor. We will have even more amazing applications of quantum theory in the future. We still don’t know which ones, but there is a great deal of room for creation and imagination.