Dear Hebrew University Community,
We are thrilled to announce that Professor Hillel Furstenberg of the Einstein Institute has won the 2020 Abel Prize—the Nobel Prize of Mathematics!
This is the first time the award has been awarded to an Israeli researcher since the prize was established in 2003. The Abel Prize is the most prestigious international prize in the world of mathematics and is considered on par with the Nobel Prize, which does not have a mathematics category. Professor Asher Cohen, president of Hebrew University, said “this is a tremendous honor for the Hebrew University. We could not be more proud.”
Professor Hillel Furstenberg, a researcher in the Einstein institute for Mathematics, was awarded the Abel alongside Professor Gregory Margulis of Yale University. The prize is awarded annually by the King of Norway, and the prizewinner is selected by a committee comprised of five internationally renowned mathematicians.
Professors Furstenberg and Margulis invented techniques to use random processes (a method of using random sequencing) to investigate mathematical objects, such as groups and graphs. In doing so, they introduced probability methods for solving open questions in group theory, number theory, combinatorics, computer science and beyond. The study of random processes is a major branch of probability theory.
Abel Committee chairperson Hans Munthe-Kaas said that “Furstenberg and Margulis’ work demonstrates how effective it can be to cross disciplines, and successfully overthrows the traditional boundary between pure and applied mathematics. Furstenberg and Margulis have amazed the mathematics world with their ingenious use of random probability and transmission methods to solve open problems in multiple mathematic disciplines.”
Professor Asher Cohen, president of the Hebrew University, said “Prof. Furstenberg’s Abel prize win is a huge honor for Hebrew University. Hillel is not just a mathematician of international renown; he is also a mentor to generations of students who, today, design and advance the world of mathematics. We could not be prouder of this Nobel-level prize win.”
For more information on professor Hillel Furstenberg: