Louis Nirenberg, a professor emeritus at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, has been awarded the inaugural Chern Medal for his contributions to the basic mathematical tools of modern science. The award, given by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and the Chern Medal Foundation, includes a $500,000 cash prize. The announcement was made at the International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) in Hyderabad, India.
Nirenberg was honored for a lifetime of work in the modern theory of partial differential equations and related aspects of complex analysis and geometry—the basic mathematical tools of modern science.
“Nirenberg is one of the outstanding analysts and geometers of the 20th century and his work has had a major influence in the development of several areas of mathematics and their applications,” the IMU said in announcing the award.
The Chern Medal is named after the Chinese mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern (1911-2004). The cash prize is divided into two parts: $250,000 to the medal winner and $250,000 to one or more organizations in support of research, education, or other mathematical programs, to be nominated by the recipient. Nirenberg has nominated the Courant Institute to receive this portion of the award.
Nirenberg was born on February 28, 1925, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He received a bachelor’s degree from Montreal’s McGill University in 1945 and an M.S. (1947) and Ph.D. (1949) from NYU. After spending his entire academic career at Courant, Nirenberg retired in 1999.
Nirenberg has received several awards and honors, notably the American Mathematical Society’s Bôcher Prize in 1959, the Jeffrey-Williams Prize of the Canadian Mathematical Society in 1987, and the Steele Prize of the AMS in 1994 for Lifetime Achievement. In 1982, Nirenberg was the first recipient in mathematics of the Crafoord Prize, established by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in areas not covered by the Nobel Prizes. He shared the award with Vladimir Arnold. In 1995, Nirenberg received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor in the U.S. for contributions to science.
About NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences:
New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences is a leading center for research and education. Established under the leadership of Richard Courant in 1935, the Courant Institute has contributed to U.S. and international science and engineering by promoting an integrated view of mathematics and computer science. The Institute is engaged in broad research activities, applying these disciplines to problems in biology, chemistry, physics, economics, and atmosphere-ocean science. The Courant Institute has played a central role in the development of applied mathematics, analysis, and computer science, and is comprised of a faculty which has received numerous national and international awards in recognition of their extraordinary research accomplishments. For more information please visit www.cims.nyu.edu.