Last updated October 25, 2018 at 1:11 pm
The Fields Medal, the Nobel Prize of Mathematics, has been awarded to Professor Akshay Venkatesh, the second Australian ever to win the prestigious prize.
Originally from Perth, Ashkay specialises in pure mathematics and number theory. He was specifically awarded “for his synthesis of analytic number theory, homogeneous dynamics, topology, and representation theory, which has resolved long-standing problems in areas such as the equidistribution of arithmetic objects.”
He was awarded their prize with four other mathematicians from around the world, including Caucher Birkar, Alessio Figalli, and Peter Scholze.
The awards are given out every four years to between two to four recipients. They acknowledge the outstanding existing and future contributions of mathematicians under 40.
They were given their medals at the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Akshay has had a remarkable career pathway.
When Akshay was 13 years old, he began a science degree at the University of Western Australia. He graduated three years later with first class honours, becoming one of the university’s youngest graduates. Winning a Hackett Scholarship from UWA in 2002, he went to undertake a PhD at Princeton.
Now, he is currently a Professor of mathematics at Stanford University.
“Akshay’s mathematical achievements are more than deserving of a place beside the extraordinary contributions recognised since the Fields medal was first presented in 1936,” said AMSI Director Professor Geoff Prince of the announcement.
Professor Prince said Venkatesh’s work has had significant impact on our understanding of mathematics including analytic number theory, algebraic number theory, and representation theory.
“Akshay is an exciting and innovative leader in his field whose work will continue to have wide-ranging implications for mathematics,” said Professor Prince.
Australians mathematicians take on the world
He joins other Australians who have recently been internationally recognised for their contributions to mathematics.
Last week, it was announced that Prof Nalini Joshi, from the University of Sydney, has been elected Vice-President of the International Mathematical Union, the worldwide body representing mathematics.
Earlier in July, Prof Geordie Williamson FRS, also from the University of Sydney, was elected as the youngest living Fellow of the Royal Society.
The first Australian to be awarded a Fields Medal was Professor Terrence Tao in 2006.