Alexander Kusenko, professor of physics and astronomy, and Chandrashekhar Khare, professor of mathematics and the David Saxon Presidential Term Chair in Mathematics, have been awarded 2021 fellowships from the Simons Foundation.

Kusenko, a fellow of American Physical Society, was awarded one of five fellowships in theoretical physics to support his research at the intersection of theoretical particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. His research expertise includes neutrino physics and astrophysics; primordial black holes, which could form in the early universe and could play an important role in generating heavy elements, such as gold and uranium, whose origin is a long-standing mystery; mysterious dark matter in the universe; gamma rays, ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays and their cosmic connections.

Khare, a fellow of Britain’s Royal Society, is an expert on Galois representations and modular forms. He and the late French mathematician Jean-Pierre Wintenberger proved a conjecture that was widely considered unachievable. Khare and Wintenberger were awarded the 2011 Frank Nelson Cole Prize in Number Theory by the American Mathematical Society for their proof of Fields Medalist Jean-Pierre Serre’s modularity conjecture. The conjecture was first proposed in 1973 by Serre and has had an important impact in number theory. In 2004, Khare and Wintenberger astonished the mathematical community when they found a remarkable strategy for Serre’s conjecture.

The Simons Foundation fellowships enable outstanding scientists to focus solely on research for a year.