Texas Mathematician John Tate Wins Abel Prize, Highest Distinction in Mathematics Internationally

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has awarded the Abel Prize for 2010 to John Tate, professor emeritus of mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin, for his vast and lasting impact on the theory of numbers.

The Abel Prize is the highest honor in the field of mathematics and recognizes contributions of extraordinary depth and influence to the mathematical sciences. It carries a cash award of $1 million.

Dr. John Tate
Dr. John Tate, professor emeritus of mathematics and winner of the 2010 Abel Prize. 

The President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, Nils Christian Stenseth, announced the winner of the Abel Prize at the Academy in Oslo today, March 24.

Tate will receive the Abel Prize at an award ceremony in Oslo on May 25.

The theory of numbers stretches from the mysteries of prime numbers to the ways in which we store, transmit and secure information in modern computers. Over the past century it has developed into one of the most elaborate and sophisticated branches of mathematics, interacting profoundly with other key areas.

Tate is a prime architect of this development.

His scientific accomplishments span six decades. A wealth of essential mathematical ideas and constructions were initiated by Tate and later named after him, such as the Tate module, Tate curve, Tate cycle, Hodge-Tate decompositions, Tate cohomology, Serre-Tate parameter, Lubin-Tate group, Tate trace, Shafarevich-Tate group and Néron-Tate height, to mention a few.

According to the Abel committee, "Many of the major lines of research in algebraic number theory and arithmetic geometry are only possible because of the incisive contributions and illuminating insights of John Tate. He has truly left a conspicuous imprint on modern mathematics."

Tate joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1990, after teaching at Harvard University for 36 years. He recently retired from his position as professor and the Sid W. Richardson Chair in Mathematics at The University of Texas at Austin.

Tate has received many awards and honors. As early as 1956, he was awarded the American Mathematical Society's Cole Prize for outstanding contributions to number theory. In 1995, Tate received the Leroy P. Steele Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the American Mathematical Society.

Tate was honored "for his creation of fundamental concepts in algebraic number theory" when he shared the Wolf Prize in Mathematics with Mikio Sato in 2002-2003.

He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1969, named a foreign member of the French Académie des sciences in 1992 and an honorary member of the London Mathematical Society in 1999.

The Abel Prize was awarded by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for the first time in 2003. The choice of Abel Laureate is based on the recommendation of the Abel Committee, which consists of five internationally recognized mathematicians.

For more information about the laureate, his achievements and the Abel Prize, visit the Abel Prize Web site www.abelprisen.no/en/.