India-origin mathematician Akshay Venkatesh was awarded the prestigious Fields medal on Wednesday. The 36-year-old was chosen as one of the four winners of the prize, which is commonly referred to as the Nobel prize for mathematics. He was recognised for his “profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics”. The Fields medal is awarded once in four years to the most promising mathematicians under the age of 40.
The other recipients were Caucher Birkar, a Cambridge University professor of Iranian Kurdish origin, Peter Scholze, a German who teaches at the University of Bonn and Alessio Figalli, an Italian at ETH Zurich. The awards were presented on the occasion of the International Congress of Mathematicians in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. The winners also receive a cash prize of C $15,000.
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The Fields Medal Committee recognised Venkatesh “for his synthesis of analytic number theory, homogeneous dynamics, topology, and representation theory, which has resolved long-standing problems in areas such as the equidistribution of arithmetic objects.”
Born in New Delhi, Venkatesh moved to Australia with his parents at the age of 2. He finished high school at the age of 13, graduated from the University of Western Australia at the age of 16 — with a first class distinction — and earned his PhD at the age of 20. He is currently teaching at Stanford University.