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John Tate Named 2010 Abel Prize Winner

March 30, 2010

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has announced that John Torrence Tate has won this year's Abel Prize.

The Abel Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2003 for outstanding scientific work in mathematics, carries an award of 6,000,000 Norwegian kroner (about $1 million). Abel Laureates are selected based on the recommendation of the Abel Committee, which consists of five internationally recognized mathematicians.

Tate, who recently retired after 20 years as Sid W. Richardson Chair in mathematics at University of Texas at Austin, won the prize for his vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers.

According to a statement by the Abel committee, "Many of the major lines of research in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry are only possible because of the incisive contributions and illuminating insights of John Tate. He has truly left a conspicuous imprint on modern mathematics."

The Academy's citation mentions Tate's 1950 thesis on Fourier analysis in number fields that paved the way for the modern theory of automorphic forms and their L-functions, and that he revolutionized global class field theory with Emil Artin, using novel techniques of group cohomology.

With Jonathan Lubin, Tate recast local class field theory by the use of formal groups. Tate's invention of rigid analytic spaces spawned the field of rigid analytic geometry. He found a p-adic analogue of Hodge theory, now called Hodge-Tate theory, which has blossomed into another central technique of modern algebraic number theory.

Born in Minneapolis in 1925, Tate took an early interest in mathematics and grew up with a fascination for mathematical puzzles. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1946 and his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1950. Emil Artin was his thesis adviser. Tate was a research assistant and instructor at Princeton (1950-1953) and a visiting professor at Columbia University (1953-1954). In 1954, Tate moved to Harvard University, where he taught for thirty-six years.

The award was announced on March 24. After the announcement, Marcus du Sautoy, professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and winner of the 2010 JPBM Communications Award, gave a presentation on the laureate’s work and moderated a conversation between the audience and Tate, who was contacted over the phone.

Tate is scheduled to receive the award from the King of Norway at a ceremony on May 25, 2010.

Source: Xinhua Net (March 25, 2010)

Start Date: 
Tuesday, March 30, 2010