Planet Princeton

Institute for Advanced Study Professor Wins $3 Million Math Prize Founded by Zuckerberg and Milner

Taylor
Taylor

Richard Taylor, the Robert and Luisa Fernholz Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study, has been awarded the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics.

The award, launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Russian entrepreneur and investor Yuri Milner, aims to recognize major advances in the field of mathematics, honor the world’s best mathematicians, support their future endeavors, and communicate the excitement of mathematics to general public.

Taylor, who received his doctorate from Princeton University in 1988,  is being honored for numerous breakthrough results in the field of number theory.

He is one of five recipients of the inaugural prize. Three of the other four recipients are former members of the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Mathematics.

Simon Donaldson, a professor at Imperial College who taught at the Institute from 1983 to 1984, received a Breakthrough Award for his work in algebraic geometry and in global differential geometry.

Maxim Kontsevich, a professor at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques who taught at the Institute from 1992 to 1993 and in 2002, received an award for his contributions to a variety of mathematical disciplines.

Terence Tao, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who taught at the Institute in 2005, received an award for his numerous contributions in a variety of areas, including partial differential equations and analytic number theory.

The Breakthrough Prize in mathematics was also awarded to Jacob Lurie, a professor at Harvard University.

“Mathematics is essential for driving human progress and innovation in this century,” Zuckerberg said. “This year’s Breakthrough Prize winners have made huge contributions to the field and we’re excited to celebrate their efforts.”

Milner called mathematics  the most fundamental of the sciences and “the language they are all written in.”

“The best mathematical minds benefit us all by expanding the sphere of human knowledge,” he said.

The five laureates will be presented with their trophies and $3 million each at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony in November. Breakthrough awards are also given to scholars in physics and the life sciences.

All five recipients of the Breakthrough Prize in mathematics have agreed to serve on the selection committee responsible for choosing subsequent winners of the prize from the pool of contenders nominated by the mathematics community. From 2015 onwards, one Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics will be awarded every year.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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