Newswise — WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2024 – AIP and the American Physical Society (APS) are pleased to announce David Brydges as the recipient of the 2024 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics “for achievements in the fields of constructive quantum field theory and rigorous statistical mechanics, especially the introduction of new techniques including random walk representation in spin systems, the lace expansion, and mathematically rigorous implementations of the renormalization group.”

This annual award recognizes significant contributions within the field of mathematical physics and will be presented at the upcoming APS March Meeting in Minneapolis.

“We are delighted to announce David Brydges as this year’s winner of the 2024 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics,” said Michael Moloney, CEO of AIP. “Brydges has made fundamental contributions to broad areas of statistical mechanics and quantum field theory. His significant and original accomplishments in mathematical physics address central problems with remarkable insight and elegance.”

Born in Chester, U.K., Brydges is curious by nature. He recalls exploring the world around him from an early age, mesmerized by technology and the natural world. His childhood wonder paved the way for his prolific career. He earned a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University and a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Michigan. 

“It is a wonderful surprise to be selected for this prize nine years into my retirement,” said Brydges, now a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who now resides in Nobleboro, in the midcoast region of Maine. “My family is delighted, and I am very much looking forward to telling my Ph.D. advisor, who is 13 years older than me.”

Brydges’ accomplishments span advances in statistical mechanics and quantum field theory (QFT). Originally motivated by the QFT axioms presented by Arthur Wightman, the 1969 Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics winner, Brydges contributed new examples and methods of reasoning to these fields.

“Wightman’s work is as magical to me today, as the first day I tried to understand it, 56 years ago,” said Brydges. “To join him on this list makes me feel that he has welcomed me to his team.”

In addition to his vast and elegant contributions to QFT, Brydges’ achievements in statistical mechanics are equally foundational. His work on weakly self-avoiding walk above four dimensions introduced the lace expansion, which has been a fundamental tool for proving mean field behavior in many models of statistical mechanics.

Brydges’ other notable accomplishments include Debye screening for Coulomb gases in three dimensions, proof of the controversial Parisi-Sourlas dimensional reduction for branched polymers, insight into O(n) symmetric spin models in four dimensions, and the first analysis of a non-Gaussian field theory with long-range interactions analogous to the Wilson’s 4-epsilon expansion.  

Throughout his career, Brydges and his collaborators brought exciting and original ideas to both QFT and statistical mechanics. Although retired, Brydges still wants “to understand how everything works, but ‘understanding’ now means that mathematics should advance so questions about QFT can be answered with the certainty of mathematics.”



The Heineman Prize is named after Dannie N. Heineman, an engineer, business executive, and philanthropic sponsor of the sciences. The prize was established in 1959 by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Education, Charitable and Scientific Purposes, Inc. The prize will be presented by AIP and APS on behalf of the Heineman Foundation at the upcoming APS March Meeting in Minneapolis. A special ceremonial session will be held during the meeting, when Brydges will receive the $10,000 prize.


The mission of AIP (American Institute of Physics) is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity. AIP is a federation that advances the success of our 10 Member Societies and an institute that operates as a center of excellence supporting the physical sciences enterprise. In its role as an institute, AIP uses policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences. AIP is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies.


The American Physical Society is a nonprofit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through its outstanding research journals, scientific meetings, and education, outreach, advocacy, and international activities. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and industry in the United States and throughout the world.