Belgian-born Pierre Deligne named Abel Prize winner

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2013 to Pierre Deligne, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. He receives the Abel Prize “for seminal contributions to algebraic geometry and for their transformative impact on number theory, representation theory, and related fields”, to quote the Abel committee. The Academy’s President, Kirsti Strøm Bull, made the announcement today, 20 March. Deligne will receive the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald at an award ceremony in Oslo on the 21st of 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 (about EUR 800,000 or USD 1 million).

Pierre Deligne, Abel Prize winner 2013. Photo: Cliff Moore Pierre Deligne, Abel Prize winner 2013. Photo: Cliff Moore

Pierre Deligne is a research mathematician who has excelled in finding connections between various fields of mathematics. His research has led to several important discoveries. Deligne’s best known achievement is his spectacular solution of the last and deepest of the Weil conjectures. This earned him both the Fields Medal (1978) and the Crafoord Prize (1988), the latter jointly with Alexandre Grothendieck.

Deligne’s brilliant proof of the Weil conjecture made him famous in the mathematical world at an early age. This first achievement was followed by several others that demonstrate the extreme variety as well as the difficulty of the techniques involved and the inventiveness of the methods. He is best known for his work in algebraic geometry and number theory, but he has also made major contributions to several other domains of mathematics.

The Abel Committee says: “Deligne’s powerful concepts, ideas, results and methods continue to influence the development of algebraic geometry, as well as mathematics as a whole”.

Pierre Deligne was born in 1944 in Brussels, Belgium. He is Professor Emeritus in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA. Deligne came to Princeton in 1984 from Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS) at Bures-sur-Yvette near Paris, France, where he was appointed its youngest ever permanent member in 1970.

Deligne was only 12 when he started to read his brother’s university math books. His interest prompted a high-school math teacher, J. Nijs, to lend him several volumes of “Éléments de mathématique” by Nicolas Bourbaki, the pseudonymous grey eminence of French mathematics. For the 14-year old Deligne this became a life changing experience. His father wanted him to become an engineer and to pursue a career that would afford him a good living. But Deligne knew early on that he should do what he loved, and what he loved was mathematics. He went to the University of Brussels with the ambition of becoming a high school teacher, and of pursuing mathematics as a hobby for his own personal enjoyment. There, as a student of Jacques Tits, Deligne was pleased to discover that, as he says, “one could earn one’s living by playing, i.e. by doing research in mathematics”.

Pierre Deligne has received many distinguished international awards. He was awarded the Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Helsinki in 1978. Other prizes include the above mentioned Crafoord Prize (1988) from the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and the Balzan Prize in Mathematics (2004). In 2008 Deligne was awarded the Wolf Prize in Mathematics, jointly with P. Griffiths and D. Mumford.

In 2006 Deligne was honoured by King Albert II of Belgium, who made him a Viscount.

Pierre Deligne is an honorary member of the Moscow Mathematical Society and of the London Mathematical Society. He is a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Philosophical Society. He is also a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

"Abel in Barcelona" with lecture by Louis Nirenberg

Institut d'Estudis Catalans will host the Abel in Barcelona-event on Monday the 16th of January. In connection with the final meeting of the Abel committee, whose task it is to select the Abel Prize Laureate for 2017, there will be an afternoon of lectures aimed at a broad mathematical audience. Louis Nirenberg, who shared the Abel Prize 2015 with John Nash, will give the first lecture. There will also be lectures by two of the Abel committee members, Luigi Ambrosio and Ben Green.

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Sir Andrew J. Wiles received the Abel Prize from H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon

Andrew Wiles received the 2016 Abel Prize from Norway's Crown Prince Haakon at an award ceremony in Oslo today, on 24 May. He receives the prize "for his stunning proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by way of the modularity conjecture for semistable elliptic curves, opening a new era in number theory", to quote the Abel Committee. The Abel Prize carries a cash award of 6 million NOK (about EUR 700,000 or USD 750,000) and has been awarded annually since 2003 by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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The Abel lectures 2016

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Congratulations from the AMS President

Robert Bryant, President of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), congratulates Sir Andrew Wiles with the 2016 Abel Prize.

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Martin Bridson, Head of the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, about Sir Andrew Wiles

“No individual exemplifies the relentless pursuit of mathematical understanding in the service of mankind better than Sir Andrew Wiles. His dedication to solving problems that have defied mankind for centuries, and the stunning beauty of his solutions to these problems, provide a beacon to inspire and sustain everyone who wrestles with the fundamental challenges of mathematics and the world around us. His work will inspire mathematicians and scientists for centuries to come. We are immensely proud to have Andrew as a colleague at the Mathematical Institute in Oxford.

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