Abel Prize: Karen Uhlenbeck, first woman in history to receive the 'Nobel' in mathematics

Abel Prize: Karen Uhlenbeck, first woman in history to receive the 'Nobel' in mathematics

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American mathematics Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck (Cleveland-Ohio, 1942), professor at the University of Texas at Austin, is the recipient of this year's Abel Award, one of the most prestigious in mathematics.

This was announced today by the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, who recognizes "his pioneering achievements in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory, and integrable systems, and for the fundamental impact of his work on analysis, geometry, and mathematical physics." His studies have laid the foundation for contemporary geometric models in mathematics and physics.

The award-winning interest in gauge theory He was inspired by the work of a fellow Abel Prize laureate, the late Sir Michael Atiyah.

This theory is a mathematical language of theoretical physics, and Uhlenbeck's contributions in this area have been essential to the modern mathematical understanding of models in particle physics, string theory, and general relativity.

Uhlenbeck has also developed tools and methods in global analysis, which are now used by many geometers and analysts on a daily basis.

“Karen Uhlenbeck receives this award for her seminal work in geometric analysis and gauge theory, which has dramatically changed the mathematical landscape. His theories have revolutionized our understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles, and more general minimization problems in higher dimensions ”, highlights Hans Munthe-Kaas, Chairman of the Abel Committee.

The dream of being a scientist

In addition to being a researcher, Uhlenbeck is a strong advocate for gender equality in math and science in general. As a child, she loved to read and dreamed of being a scientist.

He is currently a senior visitor at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). Within this is one of the founders of the Park City Mathematics Institute (PCMI), whose objective is to train young researchers and promote the exchange of knowledge in the face of the challenges of mathematics.

She is also a co-founder of a Women and Mathematics program (WAM) created in 1993 to recruit and train women to lead mathematics research at all stages of their academic careers.

"The recognition of Uhlenbeck's achievements should have been much greater, as his work has led to some of the most important advances in mathematics in the last 40 years," says Jim Al-Khalili, Fellow of the Royal Society.

King Harald V of Norway to present the Abel Prize to this year's laureate during a ceremony to be held on May 21 in Oslo.

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