French-Russian Gromov receives 'Mathematics Nobel'

21st May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Franco-Russian mathematician Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov received the world's leading mathematics award the Abel Prize.

Oslo – Franco-Russian mathematician Mikhail Leonidovich Gromov on Tuesday received the world's leading mathematics award, the Abel Prize, for his "revolutionary contributions to geometry."

Norway's King Harald V presented Gromov with six million Kroner (EUR 686,000) at a ceremony in Oslo, after the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters awarded him the Abel Prize on 26 March.

"Mikhail Gromov is always in pursuit of new questions and is constantly thinking of new ideas for solutions to old problems," said the statement by the awards committee.

"He has produced deep and original work throughout his career and remains remarkably creative," the statement added.

Gromov, 65, a professor at the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies (IHES) near Paris, is the third French mathematician to win the award after Jean-Pierre Serre in 2003 and Jacques Tits who was a joint winner last year.

"France is absolutely unique. It has a remarkable history in mathematics and the fundamental sciences," Gromov told AFP after receiving the prize.

"This tradition should be preserved. It would be a pity if France went the way of other countries focused on practical research, which, at first sight, do it better."

"In biology, France had (Louis) Pasteur, in medicine we had Claude Bernard, and in mathematics there was (Henri) Poincare.

"All these names emerged because they were allowed to work on fundamental research issues and devote themselves to research that seemed abstract at first, but from which everything followed," he added.

Born on December 1943 in Boksitogorsk in the Soviet Union, Gromov became a French citizen in 1992.

He studied mathematics at the Leningrad (St Petersburg) University, where he also taught before emigrating to the United States in 1974, becoming a professor at New York University.

In 1981, he joined the staff at the Paris VI University and a year later he moved over to IHES.

The prize was first presented in 2002 for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-29).

AFP / Expatica

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