On June 1, 2003, the French mathematician Jean Pierre Serre got the first Abel Prize, “for playing a key role in shaping the modern form of many areas of mathematics, including topology, algebraic geometry, and number theory.” Serre, who also obtained the Fields Medal in 1954, is considered one of the most prominent mathematicians of the s. xx. The Abel is awarded each year to outstanding mathematicians, usually in the later stages of their careers. So far, 26 researchers have received the award, only one of them a woman —Karen Uhlenbeck, in 2019.
Both the Medalla Fields such as the Abel Prize were born in the face of a lack: that of the Nobel Prize, which left mathematics out of the category disciplines. Much has been speculated about the reasons for this omission. A widespread and unfounded rumor speaks of Alfred Nobel’s resentment against “mathematicians” due to a spiteful love —or infidelity, depending on the story— that involved a mathematician —Gosta Mittag-Leffler, in most cases. stories—
The truth is that there is no evidence of the Nobel’s reasons for excluding mathematics, but, in any case, mathematicians did not take long to fill the gap. In 1932, Canadian mathematician John C. Fields created the medal named after him. Although this recognition, unlike the Nobel and Abel, seeks to promote the career of researchers in the early stages of their careers: it is awarded not only for “outstanding mathematical achievements” but also for “the promise of future achievements”. Although, paradoxically, some people say that just the opposite happens.
The Abel took much longer to get going. From the first prize proposal of the famous Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lievarious political issues delayed the effective creation of the 100-year award. Before his death, in 1899, Lie, after learning in 1887 of Nobel’s plans to raise an annual prize, obtained international support to create a fund to support the future Abel Prize in mathematics. However, many of these engagements were based on Lie’s personal relationships and disappeared with his death. Years later, Oscar II, king of Sweden and Norway, took up the idea, but it faded again with the separation of these two countries.
In 1932, mathematician John C. Fields created the medal named after him. Unlike the Nobel and Abel, to promote the career of researchers in its early stages, although, paradoxically, some say that the opposite is true
Until the year 2000, proclaimed the International Year of Mathematics – and which in Norway was illustrated with a logo of Niels Abel, the mathematician after whom the prize is named and who made crucial contributions in numerous areas of mathematics before dying with 26 years old—, the award was never discussed again. So Abel’s biographer, Arild Stubhaug, together with Norwegian academics, businessmen and politicians launched the project, once again.
In 2002, coinciding with the bicentenary of Abel’s birth, the prize began its journey and was first awarded in 2003. Currently, the Abel Prize is funded by the Government of Norway and its endowment is NOK 7.5 million (676,500 euros). Anyone can nominate anyone they want for the award — except themselves. The choice of the winning candidate is based on the recommendation of the Abel Prize Committee, made up of five internationally renowned mathematicians who vary each year – although the president is always Norwegian. Since 2003, two Spanish women have participated in this committee: María J. Esteban (Université Paris-Dauphine, France) and Marta Sanz Sole (University of Barcelona).
This year he won the Luis Caffarelli award, who became the first Latin American to receive the award, although he is part of a United States institution, as is the case of 17 de the winners. Four of them are affiliated with centers in France, two from the United Kingdom, another two from Hungary and one in Sweden, another in Russia and another in Israel. No person belonging to institutions in Asia —which has strong countries, mathematically, such as Japan, China or India—, nor in Africa or Oceania has been awarded so far.
Agate A. Rudder Garcia-Longoria is coordinator of the ICMAT Mathematical Culture Unit
Coffee and Theorems is a section dedicated to mathematics and the environment in which they are created, coordinated by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (ICMAT), in which researchers and members of the center describe the latest advances in this discipline, share meeting points between the mathematics and other social and cultural expressions and remember those who marked their development and knew how to transform coffee into theorems. The name evokes the definition of the Hungarian mathematician Alfred Rényi: “A mathematician is a machine that transforms coffee into theorems.”
Edition and coordination: Agate A. Rudder G Longoria (ICMAT).
#years #Nobel #Prize #Mathematics #Coffee #theorems #Science