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CULTURE | 22-03-2023 11:00

US-Argentine researcher Luis Caffarelli wins Abel Prize for maths

Prestigious Abel Prize for Mathematics awarded to Argentine-American Luis Caffarelli. An expert in "partial differential equations," he is the first South American-born mathematician to win the prestigious Norwegian prize.

The Abel Prize for Mathematics was awarded Wednesday to Argentine-American Luis Caffarelli, an expert in "partial differential equations" which can explain phenomena ranging from how water flows to population growth.

Born in Buenos Aires, Caffarelli is the first South American mathematician to win the prestigious Norwegian prize, which was inaugurated in 2003.

A professor at the University of Texas, Caffarelli, 74, was honoured for his "seminal contributions to regularity theory for non-linear partial differential equations," the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters said.

This type of equation models how several variables change with respect to each other, and play a prominent role in many disciplines, including engineering, physics, economics and biology.

The academy hailed in particular his groundbreaking contributions to the field of regularity theory over 40 years.

“Combining brilliant geometric insight with ingenious analytical tools and methods, he has had and continues to have an enormous impact on the field," the chair of the Abel committee, Helge Holden, said.

"It is an honour to receive this award, which highlights a lifetime of work," the "surprised" and "happy" laureate told the Norwegian press agency NTB.

The University of Texas in a statement congratulated its professor on receiving "the highest honour in mathematics.”

"Luis Caffarelli has introduced ingenious new techniques that show brilliant geometric insight," said Jay Hartzell, president of the Austin-based university.

"Changing the world begins with understanding the world, and Luis has helped advance humanity's understanding of some of the most formidable problems in mathematics," he added.

Last year, the prize was won by US mathematician Dennis Sullivan for his research into topology and chaos theory.

Named after the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829), the distinction comes with a 7.5-million-kroner (US$710,000) prize.

Caffarelli will receive his prize in Oslo on May 23. An extremely prolific mathematician, he has carried out more than 130 collaborations and advised more than 30 PhD students over a 50-year academic career.

The Argentinian-American has won numerous awards, including the Leroy Steele Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Mathematical Society, the Wolf Prize and the Shaw Prize.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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