March 27, 2008
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has announced that John Griggs Thompson of the University of Florida and Jacques Tits of the Collège de France will share the 2008 Abel Prize. Academy President Ole Didrik Lærum noted that Thompson and Tits received the Abel Prize “for their profound achievements in algebra and in particular for shaping modern group theory.”
Thompson and Tits’ work in the area of group theory has included inventing important new concepts and proving fundamental results in this field. As a result, their names are now synonymous with the history of group theory. Thompson is best known for his innovative work on the theory of finite groups by proving extraordinarily complicated theorems that laid the foundation for the complete classification of finite simple groups. Tits is known for creating a new and highly influential vision of groups as geometric objects.
“The achievements of John Thompson and of Jacques Tits are of extraordinary depth and influence. They complement each other and together form the backbone of modern group theory,” the Abel committee said.
Awarded for the first time in 2003, The Niels Henrik Abel Memorial Fund recognizes outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics. The prize amount of $1.2 million (USD) is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and their choice of Abel Laureate is based on a recommendation by the Abel Committee consisting of five internationally recognized mathematicians.
The Abel Prize will be presented by King Harald of Norway at the Abel Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo on May 20, 2008.