# Hungarian-American Endre Szemerédi named Abel Prize winner

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2012 to Endre Szemerédi, Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest and Department of Computer Science, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA. He receives the Abel Prize *“for his fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and in recognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributions on additive number theory and ergodic theory”*, to quote the Abel committee.

Discrete mathematics is the study of structures such as graphs, sequences, permutations, and geometric configurations. The mathematics of such structures forms the foundation of theoretical computer science and information theory. Szemerédi was one of the first to realize the importance of theoretical computer science. He has also made deep, important, and influential contributions to many other branches of mathematics and has published over 200 scientific articles.

The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Christian Stenseth, announced the winner of the 2012 Abel Prize at the Academy in Oslo today, 21 March. Endre Szemerédi will receive the Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald at an award ceremony in Oslo on 22 May. The Abel Prize recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to the mathematical sciences and has been awarded annually since 2003. It carries a cash award of NOK 6,000,000 (close to EUR 800,000 or USD 1 million).

**Enormously influential**

Endre Szemerédi is described as a mathematician with exceptional research power and his influence on today’s mathematics is enormous. Yet as a mathematician, Szemerédi started out late. He attended medical school for a year, and worked in a factory before he switched over to mathematics. His extraordinary talent was discovered when he was a young student in Budapest by his mentor Paul Erdös. Szemerédi lived up to his mentor’s great expectations by proving several fundamental theorems of tremendous importance. Many of his results have generated research for the future and have laid the foundations for new directions in mathematics.

Many of his discoveries carry his name. One of the most important is Szemerédi's Theorem, which shows that in any set of integers with positive density, there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions. Szemerédi’s proof was a masterpiece of combinatorial reasoning, and was immediately recognized to be of exceptional depth and importance. A key step in the proof, now known as the Szemerédi Regularity Lemma, is a structural classification of large graphs.

**“An Irregular Mind”**

In 2010, on the occasion of Szemerédi’s 70th birthday, the Alfréd Rényi Institute of Mathematics and the János Bolyai Mathematical Society organized a conference in Budapest to celebrate his achievements. In the book, An Irregular Mind, published prior to the conference, it is stated that “Szemerédi has an ‘irregular mind’; his brain is wired differently than for most mathematicians. Many of us admire his unique way of thinking, his extraordinary vision.”

The Abel Committee notes, “Szemerédi's approach to mathematics exemplifies the strong Hungarian problem-solving tradition. Yet, the theoretical impact of his work has been a game-changer.”

**Awards and honours**

Endre Szemerédi has received many awards and honours for his contributions to mathematics and computer science. In 2008 he was awarded the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research by the American Mathematical Society. The same year Endre Szemerédi received the Rolf Schock Prize in Mathematics from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Endre Szemerédi is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of the US National Academy of Sciences.

**The Abel Prize 10 years**

The prize is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. The choice of the Abel Laureate is based on the recommendation of the Abel Committee, which consists of five internationally recognized mathematicians. The Abel Prize was awarded for the first time in 2003. The Abel Prize and associated events are funded by the Norwegian Government.

### "Abel in Zürich" - symposium with two laureates

The Institute for Mathematical Research (FIM) at ETH Zürich is hosting a one-day symposium on the 20th of January with talks given by Abel Laureates Sir Michael Atiyah and Endre Szemerédi and by John Rognes, chair of the Abel Prize Committee. All talks will take place in the main building of ETH Zürich, Rämistrasse 101, in lecture hall G 3.

(14.01.2016) More### The 3rd Heidelberg Laureate Forum opened

From August 23 to 28, the third Heidelberg Laureate Forum gathers 26 recipients of the Turing Award, the Fields Medal, the Abel Prize and the Nevanlinna Prize. Five Abel Laureates take part this year. They will meet with young researchers from over 50 nations. Kirsti Strřm Bull, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, pointed out in her speech at opening ceremony that intellectual exchange between the laureates of mathematics and computer science and the young researchers is in the spirit of the Abel Prize that also supports activities for children and young people.

(25.08.2015) More### First step towards the Abel Prize 2016

The 15th of September 2015 is the deadline for nominating candidates for the Abel Prize 2016. The Abel Committee met for the first time at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters on the 26th and 27th of September to embark on the task of selecting a deserving candidate. The Academy's choice of Laureate is based on the Abel committee's recommendation. The Abel Committee is led by Professor John Rognes (left). To the right: Kristian Ranestad, chair of the Abel board.

(19.08.2015) More### Nash and Nirenberg received the Abel Prize from the King of Norway

John F. Nash Jr. and Louis Nirenberg received the 2015 Abel Prize from His Majesty King Harald V at the award ceremony in Oslo on 19 May. The two American mathematicians receive the prize "for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis." The laureates share the 6 mill NOK (about EUR 700,000 or USD 750,000) prize money.

(20.05.2015) More### Abel celebration in Oslo and Bergen

When the Abel laureates John F. Nash Jr. and Louis Nirenberg arrive in Oslo they can look forward to a week of mathematical celebrations in Oslo and Bergen. The highlight will be when they receive the Abel Prize from H.M. the King at the award ceremony on the 19th of May in the University Aula in Oslo. Earlier the same day they will be received in audience at the Royal Palace. The Abel Banquet at Akershus Castle will be hosted by Torbjřrn Rře Isaksen, Minister of Education and Research.

(11.05.2015) More