Indian-origin Princeton prof snares ‘Nobel Prize of maths’

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Two Indian-origin mathematicians have won prestigious global prizes in the field of mathematics with one being awarded the Fields Medal – the “Nobel Prize of mathematics”.

Manjul Bhargava, a professor of mathematics at Princeton University, was Wednesday conferred the Fields Medal at the International Congress of Mathematicians 2014 hosted by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) in Seoul, a press release issued by the Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences said.

Also on the same occasion, another Indian-origin mathematician Subhash Khot won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize, awarded by the IMU, for his “prescient definition of the ‘Unique Games’ problem, and leading the effort to understand its complexity and its pivotal role in the study of efficient approximation of optimisation problems”.

Bhargava, born in 1974 in Canada, was awarded the Fields Medal for developing powerful new methods in the geometry of numbers, which he applied to count rings of small rank and to bound the average rank of elliptic curves.

He is the recipient of the Mathematical Association of America prize in 2003, the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize in 2005, the Cole Prize in Number Theory of the American Mathematical Society in 2008 and the Infosys Prize in 2012.

Other three winners of the Fields Medal are Maryam Mirzakhani, the first Iranian and the first woman to win the medal, and Artur Avila, the first Brazilian, and Martin Hairer, the first Austrian to win a Fields Medal.

Mirzakhani, a mathematics professor at Stanford University, was awarded the prize for her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces.

Avila, a professor at the Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicadab in Brazil, was awarded the prize for his profound contributions to dynamical systems theory, which have changed the face of the field, using the powerful idea of renormalisation as a unifying principle.

Hairer, a mathematics professor at the University of Warwick, was awarded the prize for his outstanding contributions to the theory of stochastic partial differential equations, and in particular for the creation of a theory of regularity structures for such equations.

The Fields Medals are awarded once every four years by the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in order to recognise outstanding mathematical achievements.

John Charles Fields was a Canadian mathematician who had a major impact on national and international mathematical studies and research.

Khot is a professor in the Computer Science Department at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. He has a PhD from Princeton.

His work has led to breakthroughs in algorithmic design and approximation hardness and to new exciting interactions between computational complexity, analysis and geometry.

The Rolf Nevanlinna Prize is awarded once every four years at the International Congress of Mathematicians, for outstanding contributions in Mathematical Aspects of Information Sciences, including all mathematical aspects of computer science.

The Fields Medals were started in 1936 and the Nevanlinna Prize in 1982.

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