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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 Strřm 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.

Mathematical billiards and chaos

Abel Lectures 2014 at the University of Oslo, Norway

The Abel Laureate Yakov Sinai will give his prize lecture at the University of Oslo on 21 May. This will be followed by two Abel Lectures by Gregory Margulis and Konstantin Khanin. Domokos Szász will give the popular science lecture titeled "Mathematical billiards and chaos". See lecture summaries below.

(08.05.2014) More

Abel celebration in Oslo, Stavanger and Stockholm

When Abel Laureate Yakov G. Sinai arrives in Oslo on 18 May together with his wife Elena B. Vul, who is also a mathematician, they can look forward to a week of mathematics celebration in Oslo, Stavanger and Stockholm. The highlight will be when Yakov G. Sinai receives the Abel Prize from HRH The Crown Prince at the award ceremony on 20 May in the University Aula in Oslo. Earlier the same day Sinai will be received in audience at the Royal Palace. The Minister of Education and Research, Torbjřrn Rře Isaksen, will be among the many prominent guests at the award ceremony.

(13.05.2014) More

Congratulations from AMS President David Vogan

"On behalf of the American Mathematical society, it is a great pleasure to congratulate Yakov Sinai of Princeton University and the Landau Institute, recipient of the 2014 Abel Prize. Sinai's work has changed our understanding of change; his influence can be seen from number theory to physics. Congratulations!"

(26.03.2014) More

Russian mathematician receives the 2014 Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2014 to Yakov G. Sinai (78) of Princeton University, USA, and the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, "for his fundamental contributions to dynamical systems, ergodic theory, and mathematical physics". The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Chr. Stenseth, announced the winner of the 2014 Abel Prize at the Academy in Oslo today, 26 March. Yakov G. Sinai will receive the Abel Prize from His Royal Highness The Crown Prince at an award ceremony in Oslo on 20 May.

(25.03.2014) More

Abel Prize announcement 26 March

The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Chr. Stenseth, (picture) will announce the winner of the Abel Prize for 2014 at the Academy on the 26th of March. The Academy's choice of laureate is based on the recommendation of the Abel Committee. The chair of the Abel Committee, Ragni Piene, will give the reasons for the awarding of the prize. The internationally renowned mathematician Jordan Ellenberg will give a popular science presentation of the prize winner's work.

(17.03.2014) More
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The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Drammensveien 78
N-0271 Oslo, Norway
Telephone: + 47 22 12 10 90
Fax: + 47 22 12 10 99
E-mail: abelprisen@dnva.no
Web editor: Anne-Marie Astad
Design and technical solutions: Ravn Webveveriet AS