From winning international mathematics and physics competitions by age 12 to his current work on number theory at Stanford, AKSHAY VENKATESH has long stood out as a brilliant mathematician. In recognition of his many and varied achievements, Venkatesh, a professor of mathematics, is the 2016 recipient of the Infosys Prize in Mathematics, which is awarded by the Infosys Science Foundation.
Venkatesh’s interests are impressively wide-ranging and include
study of number theory, automorphic forms, topology, ergodic theory and representation theory. The award announcement commends his work as creative and foundational, describing it as “characterized by unexpected guiding heuristic ideas which are then brought to fruition with dazzling technical virtuosity.”
The Infosys Prize is given annually to outstanding Indian scientists and researchers in the areas of Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. The goal of the award is to encourage the spread of science in India, particularly among young people. This year, the foundation received more than 250 nominations.
The chair of the jury that selected Venkatesh was Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan, a National Medal of Science honoree and professor of mathematics at New York University. In the award announcement, Varadhan said of Venkatesh’s research, “His work weaves together, in a surprising way, threads from many different fields, creating a wonderful fabric. It is really what mathematics is all about, unexpected beautiful connections between different areas.”