The Abel Prize is awarded annually by the King of Norway to outstanding mathematicians. In 2001 the government of Norway announced that the bicentennial of Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel's birth (which was 1802) would mark the commencement of a new prize for mathematicians, named after Abel.
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters annually declares the winner of the Abel Prize after selection by a committee of five international mathematicians. The amount of money that comes with the prize is usually close to one million USD, similar to the Nobel Prize, which is awarded in Sweden and Norway and excludes mathematics. Norway gave the prize an initial funding of NOK 200,000,000 (about $23,000,000 USD) in 2001. The prize is an attempt at creating publicity for mathematics, making the science more prestigious, especially for young people.
Sophus Lie became the first proponent of establishing an Abel Prize when Lie learned that Alfred Nobel's plans for annual prizes, made known in 1897, would not include a prize in mathematics. King Oscar II was willing to finance a mathematics prize in Abel's name, and the mathematicians Ludwig Sylow and Carl Størmer drew up statutes and rules for the proposed prize. However, the dissolution of the Union between Sweden and Norway in 1905 ended the first attempt to create the Abel Prize.
In April 2003, it was announced that Jean-Pierre Serre was the first candidate to win the Abel Prize, and the following June it was awarded.
- 2005: Peter D. Lax (Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University)
"for his groundbreaking contributions to the theory and application of partial differential equations and to the computation of their solutions".
- 2004: Michael F. Atiyah (University of Edinburgh) and Isadore M. Singer (MIT)
"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".
- 2003: Jean-Pierre Serre (Collège de France)
"for playing a key role in shaping the modern form of many parts of mathematics, including topology, algebraic geometry and number theory".
- Fields Medal
- List of prizes, medals, and awards – mathematics
- Nevanlinna Prize
- Schock Prize
- Wolf Prize in Mathematics
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