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Sir Vaughan Frederick Randal Jones, KNZM, FRS, FRSNZ (born 31 December 1952) is a New Zealand mathematician, known for his work on von Neumann algebras, knot polynomials and conformal field theory. He was awarded a Fields Medal in 1990, and famously wore a New Zealand rugby jersey when he accepted the prize. Jones is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a Distinguished Alumni Professor at the University of Auckland.

Jones was born in Gisborne, New Zealand and brought up in Cambridge, New Zealand, completing secondary school at Auckland Grammar School. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Auckland, from where he obtained a B.Sc. in 1972 and an M.Sc. in 1973. For his graduate studies, he went to Switzerland, where he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Geneva in 1979. His thesis, titled Actions of finite groups on the hyperfinite II1 factor, was written under the supervision of André Haefliger. In 1980, he moved to the United States, where he taught at the University of California, Los Angeles (1980–1981) and the University of Pennsylvania (1981–1985), before being appointed as Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

His work on knot polynomials, with the discovery of what is now called the Jones polynomial, was from an unexpected direction with origins in the theory of von Neumann algebras, an area of analysis already much developed by Alain Connes. It led to the solution of a number of the classical problems of knot theory, and to increased interest in low-dimensional topology.

He was awarded Distinguished Companionship of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 (later reassigned to Knight Companion in August 2009). He was awarded the Rutherford Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1991, and the Fields Medal in 1990.

See also

* Subfactor

External links

* O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Vaughan Jones", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews, .
* Vaughan Jones at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
* Jones' home page
* Career profile page at the University of Auckland


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