/ 24 May 2011

US mathematician lauded for seven-dimensional work

US mathematician John Milnor on Tuesday received Norway’s Abel Prize for pioneering discoveries in the fields of topology, geometry and algebra.

Norway’s King Harald presented the prize, which is dubbed “the Nobel for Mathematics” and worth about $1-million.

Among Milnor’s discoveries in topology — an area of mathematics that deals with spatial properties — were exotic smooth spheres in seven dimensions, the jury said.

He has also made “significant contributions to differential geometry, algebra, and dynamical systems”, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters said, noting that several mathematical concepts, results and conjectures are named after Milnor.

Milnor (80) is with the Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Stony Brook University, New York in the United States.

He began his academic studies at Princeton University in the US, where he also wrote his thesis and was later a faculty member.

Milnor has written several influential books on mathematics.

The Abel Prize was first awarded in 2003. It was created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Niels Henrik Abel who is considered Norway’s greatest mathematician.

Last year, the prize was awarded to US mathematician John Torrence Tate. — Sapa-dpa