Jop Briët, former researcher at the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, was awarded the Andreas Bonn medal for his thesis `Grothendieck Inequalities, nonlocal games and optimization’. Briët conducted his research at CWI and got his PhD in 2011 at the University of Amsterdam under the supervision of Prof. H.M. Buhrman. In his thesis Briët introduced new variants of the famous inequality of Grothendieck and applied them to computer science, physics and mathematics.
An important topic in Briët's thesis is quantum computing. Based on Grotendieck's inequality, Briët analyzed the reliability of physical experiments which show that nature allows for entanglement. Entanglement, a unique aspect of quantum mechanics, implies that distant particles can exhibit correlations without transfer of information. The existence of entanglement implies that quantum mechanics is a better mathematical model of reality than classical mechanics.
Unintentionally, Briët also solved a 35-year-old problem in pure mathematics (Banach algebras). In 2008, mathematicians already translated this issue to a problem about entanglement. A modified Grothendieck inequality was the last piece of the puzzle needed to solve this problem.
The Andreas Bonn medal is made available by the Dutch Society for the Promotion of Physics, Medicine and Surgery and is intended to honor researchers younger than 35 years old for their academic achievements. The medal is awarded on the basis of the quality of scientific research which was done on behalf of a PhD at the University of Amsterdam. The award ceremony took place on Friday 22 november 2013.
In 2012 Briet was awarded a Rubicon grant from NWO. Currently he is postdoc at New York University's Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences, which is internationally recognized for its development of applied mathematics, analysis, and computer science. For his thesis Briët was also awarded the 2011 Stieltjes Prize, the prize for the best thesis in mathematics.