In First, Israeli Wins World’s Top Math Prize

Abel Prize is known as the “Nobel Prize of mathematics”

By Michael Selutin |
Israeli professor wins Abel Prize.
Photo: Creative Commons

Professor Hillel Furstenberg of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem this week became the first Israeli to ever win the Abel Prize, the world’s top math award.

The Abel Prize is awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and is considered the “Nobel Prize of mathematics.”

Prof. Furstenberg, who will share the prize with Grigory Margulis of Yale University, was chosen for the honor for “pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics.”

In announcing the winners, Hans Munthe-Kaas, chairman of the Abel committee, said:

Furstenberg and Margulis stunned the mathematical world by their ingenious use of probabilistic methods and random walks to solve deep problems in diverse areas of mathematics. They brought down the traditional wall between pure and applied mathematics and opened up a wealth of new results…with applications to communication technology and computer science.

The following YouTube clip shows Furstenberg and his wife receiving the call that he had won:

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