A press release from Oslo said, that the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2018 to Robert P. Langlands of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA “for his visionary program connecting representation theory to number theory.”
Robert P. Langlands has been awarded the Abel Prize for his work dating back to January 1967. He was then a 30-year-old associate professor at Princeton, working during the Christmas break. He wrote a 17-page letter to the great French mathematician André Weil, aged 60, outlining some of his new mathematical insights.
“If you are willing to read it as pure speculation I would appreciate that,” he wrote. “If not – I am sure you have a waste basket handy.”
Fortunately, the letter did not end up in a waste basket. His letter introduced a theory that created a completely new way of thinking about mathematics: it suggested deep links between two areas, number theory and harmonic analysis, which had previously been considered as unrelated.
Langlands’ insights were so radical and so rich that the mechanisms he suggested to bridge these mathematical fields led to a project named the Langlands program. The program has enlisted hundreds of the world’s best mathematicians over the last fifty years. No other project in modern mathematics has as wide a scope, has produced so many deep results, and has so many people working on it. Its depth and breadth have grown and the Langlands program is now frequently described as a grand unified theory of mathematics.
Robert P. Langlands will receive the Abel Prize for his work from His Majesty King Harald V at an award ceremony in Oslo on 22 May. The Abel Prize carries a cash award of 6 million NOK (about 623,000 Euro or about 764,000 USD).
For more information please consult the Abel Prize website.
The full press release can be found here.