Dr. Barak Weiss, a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev mathematician, has been selected to receive a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) in 2011.

Considered Europe’s most prestigious research awards, the ERC Grants were initiated in 2007 as a way to encourage “pioneering frontier research in any field of science, engineering and scholarship.”

Moreover, the ERC said that it is dedicated to “stimulating scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, scholars and engineers to be adventurous and take risks in their research.”

Dr. Weiss’s research focuses on “exceptionally symmetric higher dimensional objects called parameter spaces, their groups of symmetries move points around inside them and this leads to the field of dynamical systems. Understanding the dynamics of these Lie group actions on some parameter spaces leads to a better understanding of several classical questions in number theory, like Minkowski’s conjecture, and also to a better understanding of newer questions like diophantine properties of typical points on fractals and billiards on rational polygons.”

This is the eighth ERC grant awarded at BGU in the three years since they were created. In 2010, Israel ranked fourth in number of recipients of ERC grants.