Bruce Kleiner, a professor of mathematics at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, was named the recipient of the National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing.
He shares the prize with John Lott, a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Kleiner and Lott were recognized for their explication of Grigori Perelman’s solution of the Poincaré Conjecture, which is a century-old theorem explaining three-dimensional spheres. In 2002 and 2003, Perelman, a Russian mathematician, presented a proof that claimed to solve the Poincaré Conjecture. But many mathematicians had difficulty deciphering his work, presented over three papers, thereby raising questions about the proof’s viability.
Kleiner and Lott set out to make Perelman’s work transparent by first understanding, then explaining, the proof in greater detail.
“The Kleiner/Lott presentation was instrumental in making the solution accessible to the mathematical community, and, as the first detailed scientific presentation, played a crucial role in the verification of the solution,” the Academy said in announcing its selection.
The award, which includes a cash prize of $10,000, honors authors whose reviews have synthesized extensive and difficult material, providing a significant service to science and
influencing the course of scientific thought. The prize annually rotates the discipline it recognizes; work in the field of mathematics is spotlighted once every 17 years.