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The winners of the Fields Medals, awarded August 22 in Madrid during the opening ceremony of the International Congress of Mathematicians ICM2006, include three Springer authors: Andrei Okounkov, Terence Tao and Wendelin Werner. The Fields Medal, referred to as the "Nobel Prize in Mathematics," is the most important international prize in the world of mathematics. Also awarded at the Congress at the same time were the prestigious Nevanlinna Prize and the Gauss Prize, going respectively to Springer authors Jon Kleinberg and Kiyoshi Itô.

Andrei Okounkov receives the award "for his contributions bridging probability, representation theory and algebraic geometry." His work has revealed profound new connections between different areas of mathematics and has brought new insights into problems arising in physics. A professor of mathematics at Princeton University, Okounkov is a contributor to two Springer/Birkhäuser books, The Unity of Mathematics and The Orbit Method of Geometry and Physics. He has also written articles for many Springer/Birkhäuser journals, including Selecta Mathematica, Inventiones Mathematicae, Transformation Groups, Functional Analysis and Its Applications and the Journal of Mathematical Sciences.

Terence Tao is being honored "for his contributions to partial differential equations, combinatorics, harmonic analysis and additive number theory". Tao is a supreme problem-solver whose spectacular work has had an impact across several mathematical areas. His interests range over a wide swath of mathematics, including harmonic analysis, nonlinear partial differential equations, and combinatorics. He is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has contributed to numerous Springer/Birkhäuser journals, among them Mathematische Annalen, Mathematische Zeitschrift, Communications in Mathematical Physics, Acta Mathematica and Geometric and Functional Analysis.

Wendelin Werner has been presented with the prize "for his contributions to the development of stochastic Loewner evolution, the geometry of two-dimensional Brownian motion, and conformal field theory". The work of Werner and his collaborators represents one of the most exciting and fruitful interactions between mathematics and physics in recent times. He has been professor of mathematics at the University of Paris-Sud in Orsay since 1997. He is the co-author of Lectures on Probability Theory and Statistics (Lecture Notes in Mathematics, Vol. 1840), which describes exactly the work for which he is receiving the Medal. European Congress of Mathematics, Barcelona, July 10-14, 2000, Vol II and In and Out of Equilibrium are two Springer/Birkhäuser books to which he has contributed. He has also published in various Springer journals, including Probability Theory and Related Fields, Acta Mathematica, Journal of Statistical Physics and Communications in Mathematical Physics.

The Nevanlinna Prize is awarded this year to Jon Kleinberg for work which has brought theoretical insights to bear on important practical questions that have become central to understanding and managing our increasingly networked world. He is a professor of computer science at Cornell University. Kleinberg is an editor of the Springer book series Lecture Notes in Computer Science and Information Science and Statistics and has also written articles for Springer journals such as Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery.

The first laureate of the newly created Gauss Prize for applications of mathematics is the Japanese mathematician Kiyoshi Itô, aged 90. The subject of his work is connected to everyday life – chance. Now called the Itô calculus, his work facilitates the mathematical understanding of random events. His theory is widely applied, for instance in financial mathematics. He was a professor at the University of Kyoto, where he stayed until his retirement in 1979. Itô is the author of two Springer books Stochastic Processes and Selected Papers, and the co-author of Diffusion Processes and their Sample Paths.

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The Fields Medals are awarded by the International Mathematical Union every four years at the ICM (International Congress of Mathematicians). Between two and four Fields Medals can be awarded at each ICM, and only those mathematicians below the age of 40 are eligible to receive them. The medals, gold-minted, are named after the Canadian mathematician John Charles Fields (1863-1932) and were first awarded at the International Congress held in Oslo in 1936.

The Nevanlinna Prize has been awarded every four years since 1982 in recognition of the most notable advances made in mathematics in the Information Society. The prize consists of a gold medal bearing the profile of Rolf Nevanlinna (1895-1980), rector of the University of Helsinki and president of the International Mathematical Union.

The Gauss Prize was created to improve the public awareness of the impact of mathematics on technology, business and everyday life. It is awarded jointly by the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (German Mathematical Union) and the International Mathematical Union. The prize consists of a medal and a monetary award and is named after Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

All journals mentioned in this press release (except Journal of Statistical Physics) will be made freely available online to the public for the next four weeks.

Last reviewed:By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009

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