Institute for Advanced Study professor awarded 2018 Fields Medal

Akshay Venkatesh

The International Mathematical Union has awarded a 2018 Fields Medal to Akshay Venkatesh, a mathematician who was recently appointed to the permanent faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study. Venkatesh was a visiting professor at the Institute for the 2017–18 academic year.

The Fields Medal is awarded every four years to scholars less than 40 years old to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and the promise of future achievement. The honor was presented to Venkatesh last week at the International Congress of Mathematicians  in Rio de Janeiro.

“Akshay is an extraordinarily talented mathematician whose profound and diverse contributions underscore his leadership in the field. As a Professor at the Institute, he will help shape the direction of mathematics as a whole,” said Institute for Advanced Study Director Robbert Dijkgraaf.

Of the 60 people who have received the Fields Medal, 42 have been affiliated with the Institute for Advanced Study. The award recognizes Venkatesh for his “contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics, including number theory, homogeneous dynamics, representation theory, and arithmetic geometry. He solved many longstanding problems by combining methods from seemingly unrelated areas, presented novel viewpoints on classical problems, and produced strikingly far-reaching conjectures.”

He has made fundamental contributions to various fields of mathematics, working in particular at the intersection of analytic number theory, algebraic number theory, and representation theory, continuing the tradition of groundbreaking work by several other scholars at the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Mathematics.

“It is a great honor to receive this prize. I have had wonderful collaborators, and my work builds on that of many others,” Venkatesh said. “This award recognizes their work too.”

Venkatesh earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics at the University of Western Australia and a doctorate in mathematics from Princeton University. He has been a professor of mathematics at Stanford University for the last decade. His research has been recognized with many awards, including the Ostrowski Prize, the Infosys Prize, the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, and the Salem Prize.

The International Mathematical Union is an international non-governmental and non-profit scientific organization that promotes international cooperation in mathematics and supports other international mathematical activities that will contribute to the development of mathematical science. The organization grants four prizes for mathematical achievement every four years at the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematicians.