Prize Recipient

Pierre Alexandre Haas
DAMTP/University of Cambridge


"for outstanding theoretical work on the description of embryonic inversion in the alga Volvox, incorporating novel generalizations of elasticity theory and applied mathematics."


Pierre Haas is an applied mathematician from Luxembourg who completed his degree in mathematics at Gonville and Caius College in the University of Cambridge from 2009 to 2013, when he was awarded the Mayhew Prize. He stayed in Cambridge for his doctoral work, supervised by Prof. Raymond E. Goldstein, and received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics in 2017. Questions of shape are the focus of Pierre’s research: during his Ph.D., in close collaboration with experimentalists, he analysed theoretically the mechanics of the inversion of the green alga Volvox, whose embryos are spherical sheets of cells that turn themselves inside out through a program of cell shape changes at the close of their development. He also studied the physics underlying shape-shifting droplets, micron-sized oil droplets in cooled aqueous surfactant solution that flatten into a host of polygonal shapes upon slow cooling. This research was recognized by an EPSRC Doctoral Prize Fellowship and a Nevile Research Fellowship from Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, which support his current research and continued work on these and related questions in biological and soft matter physics.

Selection Committee:

2017 Selection Committee Members: Ilya Nemenman (Chair), Eva-Maria Schoetz Collins, Kandice Tanner, Megan Valentine,