Luis Caffarelli wins Abel Prize for maths

Luis Caffarelli. Photo credit: Nolan Zunk/University of Texas at Austin

Luis Caffarelli. Photo credit: Nolan Zunk/University of Texas at Austin

The Abel Prize for mathematics was awarded on Wednesday to Argentine-American Luis Caffarelli, an expert in “partial differential equations” which can explain phenomena ranging from how water flows to population growth.

A professor at the University of Texas, Mr. Caffarelli, 74, was honoured for his “seminal contributions to regularity theory for nonlinear partial differential equations,” the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters said.

This type of equation models how several variables change with respect to each other, and play a prominent role in many disciplines, including engineering, physics, economics and biology.

The academy hailed in particular his groundbreaking contributions to the field of regularity theory over 40 years.

“Combining brilliant geometric insight with ingenious analytical tools and methods, he has had and continues to have an enormous impact on the field,” the chair of the Abel committee, Helge Holden, said.

Last year, the prize was won by U.S. mathematician Dennis Sullivan for his research into topology and chaos theory.

Named after the Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802-1829), the distinction comes with a 7.5-million-kroner ($710,000) prize.

Mr. Caffarelli will receive his prize in Oslo on May 23.

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