Israeli Wins Prestigious Math Prize

Published: August 19th 2010
in News » Israel

Fields Medal

Professor Elon Lindenstrauss from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Einstein Institute of Mathematics has been awarded the international Fields Medal for 2010, recognizing his outstanding work in the field of mathematics.


"The feeling is a little odd, I'm not used to speaking to journalists. No doubt, speaking before the cameras is an interesting experience," Lindenstrauss told Ynet after he was announced as the award’s recipient. 


The medal, also called the "mathematics' Nobel Prize," is the world's most important math prize. It is awarded once every four years to researchers aged 40 or younger.


Lindenstrauss will receive the award along with three other mathematicians at the International Mathematical Union congress in India. The prize will be given to the recipients by Indian President Pratibha Patil.


"I've known about the award for six months, but I was told to keep it a secret so I did," Lindenstrauss told Ynet. "However, in Israel it's very hard to keep a secret, and for a while now I've been receiving well-wishes."


"It's an exceptional feeling. I know many brilliant, exceptional mathematicians…it's very surprising to be chosen out of all these brilliant minds," he continued. "I received the award for a series of projects, some of them undertaken with partners. One of the joys here is the ability join forces with other mathematicians; this is one of the things I love most about this field."


The prize is named after John Charles Fields, a mathematician and philosopher at Toronto University. Fields donated the prize and developed the criteria which make it different from the Nobel: The winner must show significant mathematical achievements, along with potential for the future.


Prof. Alex Lubotzky, a colleague of Lindenstrauss' from the Einstein Institute, said the winner had been awarded the prize for work using probabilistic and dynamic systems for solving problems in number theory.


"There is a broad Israeli component in Lindenstrauss' mathematics, and his work uses methods developed by Israeli researchers from the Hebrew University," Lubotzky said.


Lindenstrauss has a math and physics undergraduate degree as well as a masters and doctorate in mathematics from the Hebrew University. After receiving his doctorate, he then became a member of Princeton's Institute of Advanced Study and in 2008, received a professorship at the Hebrew University.

Related articles: (Fields Medal, math, Hebrew U, Einstein Institute, award)
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