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University of Texas Professor Wins 2019 Abel Prize in Mathematics

A professor emerita of mathematics at the University of Texas has received the prestigious 2019 Abel Prize for her contributions to the field of mathematics.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters named Karen Uhlenbeck as the recipient of the top international mathematics award for this year. The award is given in recognition of achievements in mathematics at any stage of a mathematician’s career.

Uhlenbeck received the award, modeled after the Nobel prize, for her achievements in geometric partial differential equations, integrable systems and gauge theory, which have had a fundamental impact on mathematical physics and geometry.

“She transformed the fabric of the department with her broad view of mathematics and beyond,” Thomas Chen, chair of the Department of Mathematics at UT Austin, said.

“Her insatiable curiosity fuels both her deep vision in mathematics and wisdom in the human sphere, which is evident in her legendary generosity and attention to mentoring young mathematicians.”

Uhlenbeck’s gauge theories, which provide an analytical foundation for a number of concepts explored in modern physics, are some of her most prominent contributions. She was also the 2007 recipient of the Steele Prize for a Seminal Contribution to Research from the American Mathematical Society.

The Abel prize comes with a monetary award of approximately $700,000. It will be presented to Uhlenbeck by Norway’s King Harald V at an award ceremony in Oslo on May 21.

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