Robert P. Langlands received the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald

In the University Aula in Oslo, surrounded by Munch's paintings and a diverse mathematical audience, Robert P. Langlands was today, May 22, awarded the Abel Prize for 2018 by H.M. King Harald. Langlands received the award of 6 million NOK “for his visionary program connecting representation theory to number theory.” The Langlands program is frequently described as a grand unified theory of mathematics.

Robert P. Langlands received the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald. Photo: Thoms Brun Robert P. Langlands received the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald. Photo: Thoms Brun

Langlands is awarded the Abel Prize for his work that started in 1967. He was then a 30-year-old associative professor at Princeton when he wrote a 17-pages letter to the great French mathematician André Weil, aged 60, outlining some of his new mathematical insights.

“If you are willing to read it as pure speculation I would appreciate that,” he wrote. “If not – I am sure you have a waste basket handy.”

Fortunately, the letter did not end up in a waste basket. His letter introduced a theory that created a completely new way of thinking about mathematics: it suggested deep links between two areas, number theory and harmonic analysis, which had previously been considered as unrelated. The program has enlisted hundreds of the world’s best mathematicians over the last fifty years.

John Rognes, chair of the Abel committee, explained the reasons for awarding the Abel Prize 2018 to Robert P. Langlands at the award ceremony.

Abel lectures

Robert P. Langlands gave his prize lecture at the Universty of Oslo on the 23rd of May. Edward Frenkel and James Arthur gave the two other lectures.

Edward Frenkel, Robert Langlands and James Arthur gave lectures at the University of Oslo. (Photo: Anne-Marie Astad)Edward Frenkel, Robert Langlands and James Arthur gave lectures at the University of Oslo. (Photo: Anne-Marie Astad)

Press photos

Watch the Award Ceremony:

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His Majesty King Harald V will present the Abel Prize to the laureate at the award ceremony in Oslo on the 21st of May.

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"On behalf of the American Mathematical Society, it is my great pleasure to congratulate Professor Karen Uhlenbeck, recipient of the 2019 Abel Prize. Professor Uhlenbeck has made legendary advances in several fields of mathematics. Her early groundbreaking work on harmonic maps gave rise to a new field, geometric analysis. Her analysis via gauge theory of solutions of Yang-Mills equations, had and will continue to have a profound influence on all future work in this field. She transformed the fields of geometry and analysis, crossing boundaries and making deep discoveries at the interfaces."  AMS President Jill Pipher

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President of the Academy announces Abel Prize winner

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Sir Michael Atiyah, Abel Prize laureate, dies at 89

Atiyah was the recipient together with Isadore Singer of the Abel Prize in 2004, and he also received the Fields Medal, the American Philosophical Society’s Benjamin Franklin Medal, among many other honors. He was the former President of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Atiyah was most recently an Honorary Professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of Edinburgh. Sir Michael, working at Cambridge University before he retired, made outstanding contributions to geometry and topology.

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The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
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Telephone: + 47 22 84 15 00
Fax: + 47 22 12 10 99
E-mail: abelprisen@dnva.no
Web editor: Anne-Marie Astad
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