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Fields Medals and Other Top Math Prizes Awarded at ICM 2010

August 20, 2010  

The International Mathematical Union (IMU) presented seven prizes during the opening ceremonies of the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Hyderabad, India. The opening ceremonies were inaugurated by Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. Also during the meeting, IMU elected its first woman president, Ingrid Daubechies (Princeton University).

The Fields Medal, which comes with a $15,000 honorarium, is awarded every four years to at most four mathematicians.

Ngo Bao Chau (Université Paris-Sud) was awarded the 2010 Fields Medal for his proof of the Fundamental Lemma, which lies at the heart of a broad unifying vision of mathematics that Robert Langlands initiated in the late 1960s. (Read more about Ngô in this Math in the News article.)

Elon Lindenstrauss (Princeton University) won the Fields Medal for his results on measure rigidity in ergodic theory, and their applications to number theory. According to the ICM citation, "Lindenstrauss has made far-reaching advances in ergodic theory, the study of measure preserving transformations. His work on a conjecture of Furstenberg and Margulis concerning the measure rigidity of higher rank diagonal actions in homogeneous spaces has led to striking applications."

Stanislav Smirnov (Université de Genève) was honored for his proof of conformal invariance of percolation and the planar Ising model in statistical physics. "Smirnov’s work gave the solid foundation for important methods in statistical physics like Cardy’s Formula," according to the ICM citation, "and provided an all-important missing step in the theory of Schramm-Loewner Evolution in the scaling limit of various processes."

Cedric Villani (Henri Poincaré Institute), according to the ICM citation, "has been one of the pioneers in the applications of optimal transport theory to geometric and functional inequalities. He wrote a very timely and accurate book on mass transport." He was awarded the Fields Medal for his proofs of nonlinear Landau damping and convergence to equilibrium for the Boltzmann equation.

The Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, given for work in mathematical aspects of computer science, went to Daniel Spielman (Yale University) for his contributions in the areas of linear programming and error-correcting codes.

The Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize, awarded for work in applied mathematics, went toYves Meyer (professor emeritus at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan). Meyer was instrumental in developing the mathematical theory of wavelets, which revolutionized the classical theory of Fourier analysis.

Louis Nirenberg (New York University) was honored with the inaugural Chern Medal for his lifetime work in the modern theory of partial differential equations and for his mentoring of students and postdocs. The award comes in two parts: $250,000 to the recipient and $250,000 to one or more organizations in support of research, education, or other mathematical programs, to be nominated by the recipient.

The International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) is the largest congress in the mathematics community. It is held once every four years under the auspices of the International Mathematical Union (IMU). This the first time the Congress is being held in India.

For regular updates, follow ICM 2010 on Twitter (@icm2010india). The Congress is also offering live streaming of the opening, the closing ceremonies, and the plenary lectures.

Source: Science (August 19, 2010)

Start Date: 
Friday, August 20, 2010