On Tuesday, for the first time ever, one of the most reputable top prizes for mathematics has been awarded to a woman. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters declared that this year’s Abel Prize for mathematics was awarded to Karen Uhlenbeck, a mathematician and honourably retired professor of the University of Texas at Austin.
According to a leading daily, the prize commends the chief impact of her work on analysis, mathematical physics, and geometry. Basically, the Abel Prize is awarded to a person for their outstanding contributions to the respective field, to which they belong.
There was no Nobel Prize in mathematics and for years, the most reputable awards in maths were the Fields Medals, which was usually given out in small batches every four years to the most skilled mathematicians who are over 40 years of age or even younger. The only woman to receive a Fields Medal in 2014 was Maryam Mirzakhani.
The Abel, which has been named after the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, is structure just like the Nobels. From the year 2003, it is handed out annually to underscore the crucial advances in mathematics.
Dr Uhlenbeck is distinguished for her work in geometric partial differential equations, gauge theory, and integrable systems. One of Uhlenbeck’s advances in ethos described the complex shapes of soap films not in a bubble bath but in theoretical, high-dimensional curved spaces. Later on, she helped to put a meticulous mathematical underpinning to techniques that are widely used by physicists in quantum field theory in order to state fundamental interactions between particles and forces.
Uhlenbeck, who lives in Princeton, New Jersey, learned that she had won the prestigious award on Sunday. Uhlenbeck, 76, a visiting associate at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, stated that she had not decided what to do with the prize money worth $700,000 that accompanies the honour.