Hugh Thomas  2012 University Research Scholar Award Recipient

Dr. Thomas works in algebraic combinatorics, an area of mathematics which investigates the interplay between simple combinatorial structures and sophisticated algebraic constructions.  This field has grown prodigiously over the past forty years, fueled by the great increases in the power of computers.

The principal focus of Dr. Thomas's work is on cluster algebras.  These objects were invented only ten years ago, but they have attracted widespread attention because of their surprising links to a number of different topics within mathematics and physics.

Dr. Thomas's work is exciting in part because of its unexpected synthesis of widely disparate topic within mathematics, ranging from quantum groups to polyhedra. Experts in the field describe his work as absolutely first-rate, groundbreaking and beautiful.

Dr. Thomas has had 17 papers published in the past five years, with a further 6 accepted for publication, in the most influential international journals. He is the recipient of the 2011 G. de B. Robinson Award, given by the Canadian Mathematical Society to recognize excellent publications in the Society's journals.

Dr. Thomas has given 32 conference talks, and 36 seminar talks in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has been an invited visiting scholar at prestigious research institutes, including the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany, and is gaining international recognition as one of the young leaders in his field.

Remarkably, Dr. Thomas is also an accomplished poet. Chapbooks of his poetry have been published by BookThug (Toronto), Paper Kite Press (Kingston, PA), and above/ground (Ottawa). Some of his literary work has been included in Shift and Switch, an anthology of new Canadian poetry.

While building his world-class research program, Dr. Thomas has also excelled as a teacher of undergraduates, winning the UNB Student Union teaching award for 2009-10.

Dr. Greg Kealey, Provost and Vice-President (Research)
March 13, 2012