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.

- His legacy in mathematics and physics will last forever. His passing is a terrible loss, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family. Sir Michael attended ICM in Rio last year with his Abel lecture and inspired a new generation of mathematicians globally”, says president of The Norwegian Academy of Science and letters, Hans Petter Graver.

Sir Michael is best known for his co-development of a branch of mathematics called topological K-theory and the Atiyah-Singer index theorem.

Atiyah received the Abel Prize in 2004 together with Isadore Singer, “for their discovery and proof of the index theorem, bringing together topology, geometry and analysis, and their outstanding role in building new bridges between mathematics and theoretical physics."

Sir Michael Attiyah and Isadore Singer shared the Abel prize in 2004. Foto: Sir Michael Atiyah and Isadore Singer shared the Abel prize in 2004. 

As one of the world’s most revered mathematicians, Atiyah produced work  inspiring scholars across the globe, from his first major contribution, topological K-theory, to advances in quantum fieltheory.

Michael Francis Atiyah was born on April 22, 1929, in London to the former Jean Levens, a Scot, and Edward Atiyah, a Lebanese. Atiyah married Lily Brown, with whom he had three sons, John, David and Robin. Atiyah's eldest son John died in 2002. Lily Atiyah died in 2018.

In 2018, he gave an Abel Prize lecture at ICM (International Congress of Mathematicians) in Rio. The title of his lecture was "The Future of Mathematical Physics: new ideas in old bottles".

After the lecture, the ICM organizers wrote: “Michael Atiyah is a living math legend. At age 89, he shines bright with his keen mind and sharp sense of humor. Creating a magical atmosphere of wonder, he took hundreds of people on a journey through his mind, packed full of curiosity”.

Abel Prize celebrations in Oslo

Karen Uhlenbeck received the Abel Prize from H.M. King Harald V

His Majesty King Harald V presented the 2019 Abel Prize to Karen Uhlenbeck at an award ceremony in the University Aula in Oslo on the 21st of May. Uhlenbeck is "Professor Emerita of Mathematics and Sid W. Richardson Regents Chair at the University of Texas at Austin" and "Visitor in the School of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study".

(17.05.2019) More

Abel lectures at the University of Oslo

The lectures will be streamed

Karen Uhlenbeck gave her Abel Prize lecture on the 22nd of May at the University of Oslo. Chuu-LianTerng and Robert Bryant gave lectures related to Uhlenbeck's work. The popular science lecture was given by stand-up mathematician Matt Parker.

(14.05.2019) More

Karen Uhlenbeck first woman to win the Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2019 to Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck of the University of Texas at Austin, USA “for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.”

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

(19.03.2019) More

Congratulations to Karen Uhlenbeck from University of Texas at Austin

"At the University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Mathematics, we are delighted and tremendously proud of Karen Uhlenbeck, recipient of the 2019 Abel Prize" - Thomas Chen, Chair of the University of Texas at Austin Math Department

(19.03.2019) More

Congratulations to Karen Uhlenbeck from AMS President

"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

(19.03.2019) More
Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi
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The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Drammensveien 78
N-0271 Oslo, Norway
Telephone: + 47 22 84 15 00
Fax: + 47 22 12 10 99
E-mail: abelprisen@dnva.no
Web editor: Anne-Marie Astad
Design and technical solutions: Ravn Webveveriet AS