Israeli wins mathematics 'Nobel prize'

By *Jennifer Lipman*

Created *08/19/2010 - 12:48*

A Jerusalem scientist has become the first Israeli winner of a prestigious mathematics award.

Hebrew University professor Elon Lindenstrauss has been named as the recipient of the Fields Medal for 2010.

The prize, which is described as the mathematics equivalent of a Nobel Prize, is given out every four years to an outstanding academic under the age of 40.

Mr Lindenstrauss, born in 1970, is a reserve major in the IDF and a graduate of the Talpiot programme for outstanding students in the Israel Air Force.

The father-of-three, who calls his subject the “secular Talmud”, studied at Princeton and Stanford and has been a professor at the Hebrew University’s Einstein Institute of Mathematics since 2008 .

Professor Lindenstrauss’ father, who also works with at the Einstein Institute, won the Israel Prize for mathematics in 1981.

Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, the Hebrew University president, said the award is a sign that “Israel is indeed a mathematics ‘power’.”

He added: “The age limit of 40 for winning it is definitely an obstacle for young Israeli researchers who have to begin their academic careers later than others because of their military obligations.

“Professor Lindenstrauss has shown that talented scientists can overcome this limitation.”

The Fields award was presented at a special ceremony at the International Congress of Mathematicians in India.

Professor Lindenstrauss shares the medal with three other academics.