Pure mathematics success for Dr Lafuente

6 Sep 2023

Ramiro LafuenteUniversity of Queensland mathematician Dr Ramiro Lafuente has won a prestigious 2023 UQ Foundation Research Excellence Award for his work studying the geometric properties of higher dimensional spaces.

The award celebrates Dr Lafuente’s exceptional research achievements and aims to foster his development as a research leader, helping him make a sustained impact in the field of pure mathematics.

From an early age, Dr Lafuente was passionate about mathematics and problem solving.

“When I was kid, I discovered I had a hidden talent – and passion – for maths olympiads,” he said.

“I soon realised that a career in mathematics research could further unlock that enthusiasm for problem solving every single day, and it’s done just that.

“Here at the School of Mathematics and Physics I’m lucky enough to be able to work on incredibly complex problems over long-term research timelines.

“It’s an honour to be recognised for wanting to tackle some of our most fundamental mathematical challenges.”

Dr Lafuente’s recognised work is closely related to one of the most fundamental theories in both physics and mathematics – general relativity.

“Since their introduction in the early 1900s, Einstein's field equations for general relativity have been a central theme of research in physics,” Dr Lafuente said.

“But many people don’t realise that they’re also significant in pure mathematics, as they provide invaluable insight into the study of geometric properties of spaces in higher dimensions.

“My research focuses on the study of solutions to these equations, which possess additional symmetries.

“These of course abound in the natural world, but also give rise to challenging and intriguing new phenomena for the more abstract perspective of the pure mathematician.

“It could lead to a more fundamental understanding of the geometry of higher-dimensional spaces and the resolution of long-standing open questions in pure mathematics.

“The research may, in turn, be exploited again by theoretical physicists, to further improve their description of the laws of nature.”

Head of UQ’s School of Mathematics and Physics, Professor Joseph Grotowski, said he was excited to see how Dr Lafuente’s research, and career, will progress.

“Dr Lafuente is conducting world-class mathematics research at UQ, and it’s great to see the university providing significant resources to advance his fundamental research,” he said.

“Fundamental research spurs true innovation across a range of disparate fields and supporting such work will have impacts for generations to come.

“This kind of research may ultimately have impacts from everything from health care to space travel – we just have to wait and see.

“In the meantime, it’s vital to support people like Dr Lafuente to keep asking fundamental questions about our universe.”

Media: Faculty of Science Media, science.media@uq.edu.au, +61 438 162 687.