The Abel Prize in mathematics was on Tuesday awarded to Karen Uhlenbeck of the U.S. for her work on partial differential equations, the first woman to win the award, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters said.
“Karen Uhlenbeck receives the Abel Prize 2019 for her fundamental work in geometric analysis and gauge theory, which has dramatically changed the mathematical landscape,” said Abel Committee chairman Hans Munthe-Kaas.
“Her theories have revolutionised our understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles, and more general minimisation problems in higher dimensions,” he said.
Ms. Uhlenbeck, 76, is a visiting senior research scholar at Princeton University, as well as visiting associate at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), both in the U.S.
The Cleveland native “developed tools and methods in global analysis, which are now in the toolbox of every geometer and analyst,” the Academy said.
She is also a role model and a strong advocate for gender equality in science and mathematics.
The prize comes with a cheque for $7,03,000.
The prize is named after the 19th century Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.
Along with the Fields Medal, which is awarded every four years at the Congress of the International Mathematical Union (IMU), it is one of the world’s most prestigious maths prizes.