from the September 2010 issue

HU professor first Israeli to win top math medal considered equivalent to Nobel Prize

Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss of the Einstein Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem today received the Fields Medal for 2010 - a prize regarded as the "Nobel Prize" in mathematics that is awarded once in four years. He was the first Israeli to be awarded the medal.

The Fields Prize is given to scholars up to the age of 40 for outstanding mathematical achievement. Prof. Lindenstrauss received the medal today in Hyderabad, India, at the opening of the International Congress of Mathematicians, which is convened every four years by the International Mathematical Union. The medal was presented to him by Shrimati Pratibha Patil, the president of India,

The Fields Medal is named for Prof. J. C. Fields, a mathematician at the University of Toronto who was secretary of the 1924 International Congress of Mathematicians in that city. He donated funds establishing the medal and outlined the criteria for earning it - that it would go to someone with great future potential and who had already demonstrated significant achievements in the field. The medal this year was awarded to three others in addition to Lindenstrauss..

Prof. Lindenstrauss is a second generation mathematician. His father, Prof Yoram Lindenstrauss, is a professor emeritus at the Einstein Institute of Mathematics at the Hebrew University, an Israel Prize winner for mathematics, and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss is a graduate of the Talpiot program for outstanding students in the Israel Air Force, a reserve major in the Israel Defense Forces, and a winner of the Israel Defense Prize. Born in 1970, he has a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics, and a master's degree and Ph.D. in mathematics, all earned at the Hebrew University. After receiving his Ph.D. he worked at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, .N.J., and at Stanford University in the US. He also held an appointment as a professor at Princeton University. He has been a professor at the Hebrew University since 2008. He is married and the father of three children. The family lives in Jerusalem.

The proof of the outstanding achievement of Israel in mathematics, he said, can be seen in the leading role that Israeli mathematicians play in the Intentional Mathematical Union, the membership which is determined on the basis of the quality and quantity of research by individuals. "Israel is one of the ten largest and leading state delegations represented in the organization," he noted.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report September 2010

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