The Abel Prize

This prize was awarded for the first time in 2003 but it was first suggested over 100 years earlier. Sophus Lie, when he saw that Nobel's plans for annual prizes did not include one for mathematics, proposed the setting up of an Abel Prize which would be awarded every five years. He contacted mathematicians world-wide and gathered wide support. However he had not set up any machinery to carry the idea forward and when he died soon after this, in 1899, nothing further happened.

The year 1902 was one in which the centenary of Abel's death was celebrated. A decision was again taken to establish an international Abel Prize but again the plan did not come to fruition. With the bicentenary of Abel's birth approaching, Arild Stubhaug, who had written a major new biography of Abel, made another attempt to set up an Abel Prize.

A committee was set up which gathered support both within Norway and also international support. They put their proposals before the Norwegian government in May 2001 and in a speech on the campus of the University of Oslo in August 2001, the Norwegian Prime Minister announced that the Government would establish an Abel Fund.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters announces the winners of the Abel prize, the first being awarded in 2003. Below we list the winners and the citation for their prizes:

2003 Jean-Pierre Serre
... for playing a key role in shaping the modern form of many parts of mathematics, including topology, algebraic geometry and number theory.
2004 Sir Michael Francis Atiyah and Isadore M Singer
... for their discovery and proof of the index theorem, bringing together topology, geometry and analysis, and their outstanding role in building new bridges between mathematics and theoretical physics.
2005 Peter D Lax
... for his groundbreaking contributions to the theory and application of partial differential equations and to the computation of their solutions.
2006 Lennart Carleson
... for his profound and seminal contributions to harmonic analysis and the theory of smooth dynamical systems.
2007 Srinivasa S R Varadhan
... for his fundamental contributions to probability theory and in particular for creating a unified theory of large deviations.
2008 John Thompson
... for their outstanding achievements in algebra and especially for their shaping of modern group theory.
2009 Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov
... for his revolutionary contributions to geometry.
2010 John Tate
... for his vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers.
2011 John Milnor
... for pioneering discoveries in topology, geometry and algebra.
2012 Endre Szemerédi
for his fundamental contributions to discrete mathematics and theoretical computer science, and in recognition of the profound and lasting impact of these contributions on additive number theory and ergodic theory
2013 Pierre Deligne
for seminal contributions to algebraic geometry and for their transformative impact on number theory, representation theory, and related fields
2014 Yakov G Sinai
... for his fundamental contributions to dynamical systems, ergodic theory, and mathematical physics.
2015 John Forbes Nash and Louis Nirenberg
... for striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.
2016 Andrew J Wiles
... for his stunning proof of Fermat's Last Theorem by way of the modularity conjecture for semistable elliptic curves, opening a new era in number theory.
2017 Yves Meyer
... for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets.
2018 Robert P Langlands
... for his visionary program connecting representation theory to number theory.
2019 Karen Uhlenbeck
... for her pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of her work on analysis, geometry and mathematical physics.
2020 Hillel Furstenberg​ and Gregory Margulis
... for pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics.

Other Web site:

Abel Prize Web site