The Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM), the Fields Institute and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) selected Professor Christian Genest of McGill University to receive the 2023 CRM–Fields–PIMS Prize. Genest delivered the CRM–Fields–PIMS Prize Lecture at the Fields Institute in April.
Genest is one of the leading statisticians in Canada, whose work has had dual impact on both theory and real-world applications. He is best known for his contributions to multivariate analysis and was a pioneer in the expansive use of copula models in science. Together with a few close collaborators, he combined nonparametric methods and the asymptotic theory of empirical processes to design a broad array of rank-based inference tools for building, selecting, fitting, and validating stochastic models within this class. Additionally, Genest has contributed to group decision making, prioritization techniques, multivariate extreme-value theory and, most recently, to space-time modeling of rare events in environmental science.
“Christian Genest has contributed fundamental and pioneering work in a wide range of problems focused on statistical theory,” said the awards committee. “His work on copulas, in particular, has had significant impact on our understanding of the risks of rare and catastrophic events. Moreover, he is a prolific and successful advisor and multiple-time winner of best teacher award in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Université Laval.”
Genest pointed out that his success is a direct result of having the right people around him, from his collaborators to his graduate students and entire family. “Research is a complex, long-term venture; it is increasingly difficult to get anything done alone. I like to motivate people and I was lucky to be able to build a team around me and draw expertise from those I’ve collaborated with for many years,” he said. “But our work is also part of a larger scientific agenda to which many others are contributing. To me, this award is mostly the recognition of the importance of our field and the impact of our contributions.”